Monday, July 07, 2008

Oh, My, Metropolis!

Let's talk for a moment, you and I, about a movie that I love. Can we?

I first saw Metropolis when I was just out of high school, and fell in love with it immediately. It was Giorgio Moroder's 1984 reconstruction with the pop music in it; that edition makes it plain that lots of footage had gone missing, but a few stills had survived -- and here they were, integrated into the film along with songs by Bonnie Tyler and Cycle V.


I wanted that footage so bad. It was an unattainable treasure, I knew; a kind of Holy Grail. It lay beyond the horizon, a gauzy temptation, impossible -- but it had once been real, and that made a difference.

A couple of years back, I got a definitive, As-Restored-As-Restored-Gets DVD copy of the film. I sat on my mother's couch that Christmas Eve and read the liner notes. They told the tale of how the film, brought across the Atlantic in '27, was trimmed, cut, sliced and hacked and --

I knew that day what it means "to see red". I wanted to hurl myself bak in time and leap upon the editor's hand, tearing the scissors from his fingers and dashing them to the ground.

Time. A gulf, yawning, widening between us.

Sadly, I resigned myself to the knowledge that that footage was gone forever and, at least, I owned as complete a DVD copy of the film as ever I could.

Guess what?

Special thanks to Natebot.