The original epic sci-fi classic art film, Fritz Lang’s Metropolis, has not been seen in its original complete form since it opened in Berlin in 1927. It has taken 80 years to finally get it back to its original state.
Just in time for a blu-ray debut, a copy of the original cut of the classic film has miraculously been discovered in Buenos Aires by the curator of the Museo del Cine with an additional 25 minutes of lost footage, restoring this classic back to its original length and its original composition.
Back in January of 1927 when Metropolis first opened it was a two hour and thirty three minute epic film, but the US distributors thought that it was way too long and boring for an American audience, so before it was released in the US later that year, it was cut down to approximately 90 minutes (one hour and 30minutes), cutting the film by an hour in length. The film has never been seen in its original state since.
Over the years there have been many attempts to restore the film, as little bits and pieces of lost footage were found around the world and re-edited back into the film as best as could be determined, ( it was unknown how the original version was edited together), but the most recent version of the film still only ran 124 minutes.
The Argentine find, which was a 16mm duplicate of the original negative, is not only the longest version of the film yet found, with 25 minutes of extra footage, but also shows the film as it was originally edited together. Metropolis now runs a total of 147 minutes which is only 6 minutes shorter than its original release. This is probably the most complete version of the film modern audiences will ever see.
Unfortunately, due to the poor quality of the duplicate copy, much of the damage is still noticeable in the extra footage even after digital restoration techniques were used, so that the Argentine footage is easily noticeable compared to the rest of the film, which benefits from better source material.
Metropolis is a cult classic of German expressionism, and dystopian future worlds that foreshadowed films like Blade Runner and The Matrix.