Sunday, January 31, 2010

#41 Metropolis: We shall build a tower that will reach to the stars

1927. dir. Fritz Lang, starring Alfred Abel, Gustav Fröhlich, Brigitte Helm.

Seen it before? No.

One of the earliest and most influential sci-fi movies. Oh and apparently one of Hitler's favorite movies, but don't let that influence you. It's the far-off future year of 2026, in a grand city called Metropolis. At the top, literally, are the rich people. Below them are the machines that keep the city running, and below that is the worker's city. The workers are basically kept like slaves, and worked to the point of exhaustion in unsafe conditions. The son of the leader of the city ventures down below to visit the workers, and is appalled at their treatment.

Meanwhile, there is a woman, Maria, who seems to be inciting some sort of resistance. The leader of the city catches wind of it and tasks his mad-scientist employee with creating a robot duplicate of her to act as an agent provocateur and undermine the resistance. The plan sort of backfires.

A lot of newer movies have been inspired by this, for example the futuristic L.A. and robot replicants of Blade Runner. The mad scientist has a robotic hand, just like Darth Vader, or Dr. Strangelove. The movie has a political message about the treatment of workers and industrialization, which they state pretty directly:
There can be no understanding between the hand and the brain unless the heart acts as mediator.
It's an interesting piece of history, unfortunately it is nearly unwatchable due to the poor quality of the film.

Position on the list: 95
Now that is a good idea: Metric Time. Some of the clocks have 10 hours instead of 12. That's brilliant. Why haven't we gone to metric time yet? It would be so much easier.

1 comment:

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