Directed by Fritz Lang (1890-1976)
Originally released in 1926
1984 Re-edit produced by Georgio Moroder
Length 80 minutes
'Metropolis' is set in the futuristic city of the same name in the year 2026, and is the most expensive silent film ever made, featuring over 38,000 extras. The original film was released in 1926, but severely edited for it's American release, which meant that many of the original scenes were lost forever. The film was re-edited in 1984 by Georgio Moroder, who restored some of the missing scenes, replaced lost ones with still photographs, and added colour, sound effects and a modern music score. Further footage of the film was rediscovered in 2008.
The film features the Freddie Mercury track 'Love Kills'. which was co-written with the film's producer, Georgio Moroder. The track used in the film was similar to that released as a single, but with slightly different lyrics, and some different instruments, and it appears approximately 51 minutes into the film, lasting for 1:50.
Freddie was the only artist who contributed to the film to receive a co-writing credit. The film also features tracks by Bonnie Tyler, Pat Benatar, Adam Ant, Billy Squier, Jon Anderson, Cycle V, Loverboy, and Georgio Moroder himself, with many of the tracks produced by Queen's producer, Reinhold Mack.
Metropolis also has a Queen connection, as ideas from the film are used in the 'Radio Ga Ga' promotional video, including the clock mechanism, the robot Hel, and footage of the city.
Maria (Brigitte Helm)
Hel (Brigitte Helm)
Freder (Gustav Frohlich)
Joh Fredersen (Alfred Abel)
Rotwang (Rudolf Klein-Rogge)
Josaphat (Theodor Loos)
Grot (Heinrich George)
- The film starts with scenes of Metropolis, and the Worker's city which is deep underground, below the city.
- We see the Eternal Gardens where Freder is with a woman. Maria and some children appear then leave. Freder follows the woman.
- In the worker's city, and explosion happens.
- Freder goes to see his father, Joh Fredersen, the Master of Metropolis. Freder asks him why he treats the workers so badly.
- Josephat, the foreman, goes to see Joh. Joh sees some plans for the factory before the explosion. He sacks Josephat. Freder saves Josephat from killing himself and asks him to help.
- In the factory, Georgy is controlling the clock. Freder takes over from him, and asks the man to take a message to Josephat.
- Georgy goes to the Yoshiwara Club, the 'house of sin'. Meanwhile, Josephat waits for the message.
- We now see Rotwang, an inventor, who is obsessed with Hel. Hel was married to Joh, and is Freder's mother.
- Rotwang reveals to Joh that he has recreated Hel as a robot. Joh gives Rotwang the missing plans for the city.
- Freder is told that Maria has called a meeting for the workers.
- Rotwang reveals the plans are for an Ancient Catacomb, and he takes Joh there.
- Freder and the workers attend Maria's meeting, and she tells them about the legend of Babel, as Rotwang and Joh watch. Maria announces they will build a tower to the stars. Maria says there must be a Mediator between the people with the plans and the workers. Freder asks who it is, and Maria says he will be here soon.
- Joh asks Rotwang to give the robot Hel the face of Maria, so that the robot can control the workers for Joh and they can kidnap the real Maria.
- Freder kisses Maria and Maria tells Freder to meet her at the cathedral tomorrow.
- At the cathedral, Rotwang kidnaps Maria, while Freder waits. Freder hears Maria's screams, tries to rescue her, but gets trapped in a room in Rotwang's laboratory.
- Rotwang gives Maria's face to the robot, the robot comes to life, and Rotwang gives it Maria's clothes.
- Rotwang shows the robot Hel to the Joh, and Freder finds them. Freder gets a fever and is taken to a bed, suffering hallucinations.
- Joh presents Hel to his guests at the Yoshiwara Club, to prove how real she is. Meanwhile, Rotwang keeps Maria hostage.
- Freder recovers from his fever, and goes to the club. Hel tells the workers to kill Freder, and Josephat helps him to escape.
- Hel now tells them to destroy the machines in the factory. Grot, the foreman, tells them if they destroy them the city will flood. They ignore his pleas and destroy the machines. Maria escapes from Rotwang as the city starts to flood and collapse.
- Maria arrives at the factory to stop the workers, but she is too late. She is trapped and many children appear. She hits a large drum to summon help. Freder and Josephat hear her and they help the children to escape.
- In Metropolis, Joh sees the power go out. He asks someone where his son is.
- Freder goes to tell the workers that their children are safe, while Maria looks after the children. They agree to meet at the cathedral.
- The foreman, Grot, tells the workers that when they destroyed the machines, they destroyed the city and their children. He asks them why, they tell him that Maria told them too, so they all go to burn the 'witch' Maria.
- In the Yoshiwara Club, Hel is celebrating her deceptions. Freder asks Josephat to get his father, Joh. The crowd set fire to Hel.
- Waking after being knocking out by Maria, Rotwang goes looking for her, and finds her at the cathedral.
- At the club, Hel returns to her robot state as she burns. Freder realises that they burned the robot, and not the real Maria, and goes to the cathedral.
- At the cathedral, Freder attacks Rotwang as the crowds and Joh watch. Josephat tells the workers that Freder is the hero after saving their children.
- Rotwang and Freder struggle on the cathedral roof, with Rotwang presumably falling to his death.
- Joh goes to see his son, and talks to Grot the foreman. Maria tells Freder he should be the Mediator between the man with the plans, Joh, and the builder, Grot.