Lang Expands the Limits of Filmmaking with Metropolis (Great Events from History II: Arts and Culture Series)
Article abstract: Fritz Lang’s Metropolis used boldly innovative cinematic techniques to tell a story that blended futuristic science fiction with nineteenth century melodrama and prophetic social criticism.
Summary of Event
In 1924, Fritz Lang journeyed from Germany to the United States with the intention of touring American film studios in New York and Hollywood. Lang had already achieved critical acclaim as an innovative filmmaker with such films as the spy thriller Dr. Mabuse der Spieler (1922; Dr. Mabuse the Gambler) and the lavish, two-part Die Nibelungen (1924), a retelling of the Siegfried legend. Upon reaching New York, Lang was immediately struck by the city’s glittering skyline of concrete, glass, and neon, a sight responsible for the germ of an idea for a new film. Lang envisioned a futuristic world where machines and efficiency were worshiped and where human compassion and sacrifice were things of the ancient past. When he returned to Germany, Lang discussed this basic concept with his wife, screenwriter and novelist Thea von Harbau, who turned the idea into a novel.
Over the next two years, Lang labored to bring his vision of the world in the year 2000 to the screen. Because of his earlier successes, Universium Film, Germany’s premier film studio, agreed to finance the project. Two years later, the studio was nearly bankrupt, largely because of Lang’s project....
(The entire section is 1868 words.)
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