Laserblast Home Video, July 27: Clash of the Titans, Repo Men

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Tuesday, July 27 sees 20-something horror, fantasy, and science fiction titles released on DVD, Blu-ray, and/or Video on Demand, including two high-profile (if not necessarily high-quality) theatrical films and some classic/cult movies repackaged with collectible t-shirts (gotta find some excuse to keep re-issuing those public domain titles!). The 800,000 ton kraken this week is Warner Brothers’ release of CLASH OF THE TITANS, starring Sam Worthington. Fans have their choice of the VOD rental/purchase, a DVD, and a combo pack containing Blu-ray, DVD and a digital copy. Although not a critical favorite (in part because of an unsatisfactory 3-D face lift added in post-production), this remake is actually an improvement over the 1981 Ray Harryhausen original, with a good central idea, decent characterizations and performances, and updated special effects. Like the later JONAH HEX, CLASH OF THE TITANS went through extensive editorial revisions, including the shooting of additional footage. (In the original scenario, Zeus remains a villain throughout, and the lesser gods help Perseus to thwart his plans; the theatrical version gives Zeus a change of heart after he realizes he is being played by Hades.) The DVD bonus features include deleted scenes, which should give some idea of what was originally intended. The Blu-ray also includes the additional scenes, plus an alternate ending, in which Perseus confronts Zeus on Mount Olympus. Other Blu-ray bonus features:

  • Sam Worthington: An Action Hero for the Ages: a featurette on the star
  • Harnessing the Gods: Maximum Movie Mode: Sam Worthington, Liam Neeson, Ralph Fiennes and director Louis Leterrier offer scene breakdowns,  VFX breakdowns, vignettes, and a look at locations, stunt work, and the Kraken, the Scorpiochs, Medusa.
  • BD-Live enabled

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Also arriving on Blu-ray, DVD, and VOD this week is REPO MAN, the rather dismal tale of futuristic collectors who retrieve artificial organs from recipients who cannot keep up with their payments. Bonus features on the DVD and Blu-ray disc include:

  • DELETED SCENES with optional commentary with Director Miguel Sapochnik and Writers Eric Garcia and Garrett Lerner.
  • UNION COMMERCIALS: See the unique Union commercials used in the film in their entirety.
  • INSIDE THE VISUAL EFFECTS: Get an “insider’s” look at the unique visual effects used in the film.
  • FEATURE COMMENTARY: Director Miguel Sapochnik and writers Eric Garcia and Garrett Lerner offer their insights into the film.

Bonus features exclusive to the Blu-ray disc include:

  • BD-LIVE™: Access the BD-Live™ Center through your Internet-connected player to get even more content, watch the latest trailers and more!
  • MY SCENES: Bookmark your favorite scenes from the movie.
  • Pocket BLU™: USHE’s groundbreaking pocket BLU app uses iPhone™, iPod® touch, iPad™ BlackBerry®, Android™, PC, Mac and other devices to work seamlessly with a network-connected Blu-ray(TM) player and offers advanced features such as:
  • Advanced Remote Control: A sleek, elegant new way to operate your Blu-ray™ player. Users can navigate through menus, playback and BD-Live™ functions with ease.
  • Video Timeline: Users can easily bring up the video timeline, allowing them to instantly access any point in the movie.
  • Mobile-To-Go: Users can unlock a selection of bonus content to enjoy on the go, anytime, anywhere.
  • Browse Titles: Users will have access to a complete list of pocket BLU™-enabled titles available and coming to Blu-ray™ Hi-Def. They can view free previews and see what additional content is available to unlock on their device.
  • Keyboard: Enter data into a Blu-ray player with your device’s easy and intuitive keyboard.
  • Social BLU™: Connect with friends on your favorite social networks to share information about your favorite movies, enjoy Blu-ray™ community features and more!
  • U-Control™: Universal’s exclusive feature that lets the viewer access bonus materials without leaving the movie!

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The animated BATMAN: UNDER THE RED HOOD arrives in almost more iterations than you can count: VOD for rent and purchase, single-disc DVD, double-disc special edition DVD, and Blu-ray disc; the double-disc DVD and Blu-ray are also available (exclusive from Amazon.com) with a limited edition litho cel.
Fans of NIGHT OF THE LIVING DEAD may be interested in the new DVD of NIGHT OF THE LIVING DEAD: REANIMATED. This is a sort of artsy experiment, in which different animators were invited to recreate sequences of the 1968 horror film.
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Kaiju fans may want to check out DEATH KAPPA, a new Japanese monster movie from th creators of TOKYO GORE POLICE. The story takes the Kappa (legendary Yokai monsters from Japanese folklore) and adds an atomic twist to create a modern monstrosity in the Godzilla mold. The film is available in DVD and Blu-ray from Tokyo Shock Cinema.
If you’re into Italian imports from the gory, glory days of the 1970s, you may want to pull out your vomit bag in preparation for BEYOND THE DARKNESS: BUIO OMEGA. This 1979 Italian voodoo thriller from Joe D’Amato, known as BURIED ALIVE in the U.S., features a score by Goblin.
Synergy Entertainment offers up three old titles on DVD, packaged with collectible t-shirts, featuring reproductions of the original poster art: METROPOLIS, ATOM AGE VAMPIRE, and ATOMIC BRAIN. Each shirt is available in large and extra-large. By the way, the version of METROPOLIS is one of the old, previously available cuts of the film, not the newly restored one currently circulating in art house theatres.
The week’s other releases include:

  • STARGATE UNIVERSE SG-U 1.5 on DVD
  • A new Blu-ray disc of CROUCHING TIGER, HIDDEN DRAGON
  • PUPPET MASTER AXIS OF EVIL on DVD and Blu-ray
  • CRACK IN THE WORLD, starring Dana Andrews, the DVD
  • SABRINA THE TEENAGE WITCH: THE COMPLETE SERIES on DVD
  • BATTLESTAR GALACTICA: SEASON THREE on Blu-ray
  • Ray Bradbury’s CRYSALIS on DVD
  • HELL GIRL: THE TWO MIRRORS, a two-piece DVD set
  • THE DEAD MATTER on DVD and 3-disc deluxe edition
  • THE BURNT HOUSE on Blu-ray

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Metropolis Restored: The Cinefantastique Podcast, 1:14

In Volume 1, Episode 14 of the Cinefantastique Horror, Fantasy & Science Fiction Podcast, Dan Persons, Lawrence French, and Steve Biodrowski visit the futuristic city of METROPOLIS, the 1927 science fiction classic from director Fritz Lang. The subject of a recent restoration that added over twenty minutes of footage, the film is ripe for reappraisal. Is it even better than before, or is the additional running time a mere marketing ploy to get you to buy more DVDs? Also under consideration this week: a Frank Frazetta obituary, Dario Argento does Dracula in 3D, plus a week’s worth of news and a look at upcoming home video releases.


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The Making of Metropolis: Creating the Female Robot

In this article, taken from the book Fritz Lang (Oxford University Press, 1977) by Lotte Eisner, the sculptor Walter Schultze-Mittendorf reveals how he created the iconic “false Maria” robot for Metropolis.

The Birth of the female robot in METROPOLIS

By Walter Schultze-Mittendorf

Problems of form? No! Expressionism lived. Technological form had been discovered as motif for painting and sculpture. Primary, in this case, was the question, ‘What material?’
I thought at first to have real metal – chased copper plate. That meant searching for and finding a suitable chaser to execute the work. ‘Complicated,’ I thought, when Fritz Lang tried to interest me in the work. But which material really?
An accident helped us. A workshop making architectural models gave us decisive assistance unintentionally. I went there because of another job. My attention was drawn to a little cardboard box labeled ‘Plastic Wood – trade sample.’ A postal parcel. This ‘trade sample’ was not interesting for the workshop and was given to me. One trial brought the proof straightaway that the material for our ‘machine creature’ had been found. ‘Plastic wood’ turned out to be a knead-able substance made of wood, hardening quickly when exposed to the air, allowing itself to be modeled like organic wood.
Metropolis (1927)Now it needed a procedure that was not very pleasant for Brigitte Helm: namely the making of a plaster cast of her whole body. Parts resembling a knight’s armor, cut out of Hessian, were covered with two millimeters of the substance flattened by means of a kitchen pastry roller. This was then stuck onto the plaster Brigitte Helm, like a shoemaker puts leather over his block. When the material hardened, the parts were polished, the contours cut out. This was the rough mechanism of the ‘machine creature’ that made it possible for the actress to stand, to sit and to walk. The next procedure was furnishing it with detail to create a technological aesthetic. Finally we used ‘Cellon’ varnish mixed with silver bronze and applied with a spray gun, which gave the whole it’s genuinely metallic appearance, so it even seemed convincing when looked at from close range. The work took many weeks however. In those days, films were carefully prepared and thus the realization of a piece of work unusual for a film like this one was ensured. In striking contrast to the present-day German film industry!
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The Making of Metropolis: Actress Brigitte Helm

Brigitte Helm as Maria
Brigitte Helm as Maria

Fritz Lang discovered the 17-year old actress Brigitte Helm for the double-role of  Maria and her robot counterpart in METROPOLIS and she gives a remarkable performance in the film, convincingly portraying both angel and whore . In this 1927 article she discussed the rewards and difficulties of working with Fritz Lang, a notorious perfectionist.
THE  MARIA OF THE UNDERWORLD, OF YOSHIWARA, AND I
By Brigitte Helm
What excited me most about the role of Maria in Metropolis were the character’s crass differences, because these also lie hidden in my own nature: the austere, pure and chaste Maria, who believes in doing good, and the Maria the obsessed siren. Whenever I’m told how well I portrayed these intertwining and contradicting elements, I find it flattering and take it as a compliment.
It was incredible work. Now that it’s over, I have trouble remembering the disheartening and sadder moments – only the sunnier and uplifting moments stay with me. Sometimes it was like heaven, and other times like hell! The three weeks spend shooting the water sequence, when the underground city is flooded, were unbelievably hard on my health. Even now, I have to admit that I don’t know how I got through it.
Mad scientist Rotwang (Rudolf Klein-Rogge) prepares to transform his robot into the likeness of Maria (Brigitte Helm)
Mad scientist Rotwang (Rudolf Klein-Rogge) prepares to transform his robot into the likeness of Maria (Brigitte Helm)

The night shots lasted three weeks, and even if they did lead to the greatest dramatic moments–even if we did follow Fritz Lang’s directions as though in a trance, enthusiastic and enraptured at the same time – I can’t forget the incredible strain that they put us under. The work wasn’t easy, and the authenticity in the portrayal ended up testing our nerves now and then. For instance, it wasn’t fun at all when Grot drags me by the hair, to have me burned at the stake. Once I even fainted: during the transformation scene, Maria, as the android, is clamped in a kind of wooden armament, and because the shot took so long, I didn’t get enough air. But like I said earlier, today I have to make an effort to remember the unpleasant things: they’ve just faded away. Now that I relate so much to the role of Maria, I can’t image myself playing any other role. Only I can’t imagine myself not working in films again. So I’m curious to see just what is going to happen.
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The Making of Metropolis: Special Effects by Gunther Rittau

Metropolis (1927)In this 1927 article written by cinematographer Gunther Rittau, he discusses the many groundbreaking special effects that were devised for the film.  Metropolis took an astounding 310 days to shoot in 1926, requiring the services of hundreds of technicians, and Gunther Rittau shared the camerawork with Karl Freund, who like Lang came to Hollywood where he photographed many memorable movies, including  Dracula and Murders in the Rue Mougue.

SPECIAL EFFECT IN THE FILM METROPOLIS

By Gunther Rittau

The shots which use the Eugen Schǘfftan process make up a special chapter in the area of special effects. Had all the colossal constructions needed for Metropolis been built on the intended scale, the costs would have been astronomical and most of all, precious time would have been lost. The Schufftan process offered the only possibility for a practical solution and this was used a great deal. With the help of partially finished constructions and miniature Shufftan models, not only were parts of the overwhelming street scenes shot, but the atmospheric cathedral scenes as well. With Schufftan shots, the visual trademark is dictated entirely by how the camera is adjusted, and how lighting is used for model constructions. Unusually difficult were the visionary shots of the Moloch-machine, also produced with the help of the Schufftan process. Other shots occurring with the course of movement, for which the Schufftan process was not applied, were completed using model constructions. These included the shots of the traffic-congested main thoroughfare, the explosion in the heart machine room, and the blanket of dust.
Whether shooting model constructions or building models; whether lighting a scene or setting adjustments for equipment, the utmost precision was necessary. To illustrate the difficultly involved in making such shots: it took nearly 8 days to make 40 meters of film capturing model-generated scenery, since every frame had to be shot individually, and 40 meters of film contain approximately 2,100 frames. In the actual film, this amounts to 10 seconds of footage (By these figures, it is clear that Metropolis should be projected at 20 frames a second.)
By far, the cameraman’s most interesting job was designing the light effects for the scene in which the android is brought to life in the laboratory of the inventor,  Rotwang.  In the film this occurs during a transfer of electric currents that pass between the android and Maria’s human form. Electric currents of this kind usually remain invisible. Here, however, to emphasize this fantastic-secretive process, they had to be visible to the eye. Making this shot work called for weeks of preparatory experiments in the laboratory, and making equally long calculations connected with the shooting. The photographic chemistry was anything but unimportant, and while preparing this shot the strangest of technical aids were used.
An in-depth description of the process would too time consuming here, as well as counter productive. It should only be kept in mind that concealing iridescence, soft soap, vignettes, and complicated technical constructions of one’s own design played a decisive role. For days on end, workers had to be versed in operating equipment that demanded accuracy based on dealing with fractions of seconds. Individual filmstrips were exposed as often as 30 times and people with knowledge of photography know exactly what this means. With works of this nature, everything depends on meticulous calculations, highly precise working methods and equipment and most of all, on the nerves and patience of the cameraman. I can safely assume that shots like these were never shown before.
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Director Fritz Lang on the Making of Metropolis

The best film of the year is easily the newly restored version of  Fritz Lang’s science-fiction masterpiece, METROPOLIS which features twenty- five minutes of missing footage that hasn’t been seen since the movie had it’s premiere in Berlin, 83 years ago.  This new footage restores important subplots and makes it clear just how badly METROPOLIS had been butchered by Paramount when they “improved” it  for American audiences.
Unfortunately, while the beautifully restored Metropolis is showing at theatres around the country this summer, it appears that in most cities it will be projected at the sound speed of 24 frames per second, even though there is much evidence to suggest the film should be shown at 20 frames per second.  In 2001, Enno Patalas of the Munich Film Archive showed a previously restored version of the film at The San Francisco Film Festival and Festival director Peter Scarlet noted, “Metropolis runs 147 minutes at its proper projection speed of 20 frames per second.”  Likewise, cameraman Gunther Rittau in discussing the stop-motion effects used for creating the cityscape of Metropolis provides figures that indicate the film should be shown at 20 frames per second.  It also seems probable that Lang shot the movie at a frame rate between 18 and 20 fps.
Apparently the main reason the film was transferred to DVD and is currently being shown at 24 frames a second is due to notations on the original score by Gottfried Huppertz.   However, according to Stefan Drossler, the current head of the Munich Film Museum, silent films in Germany were routinely shown at frame rates much higher than they were shot at,  and projectionists even had to be warned about “speed limits.”  Martin Koerber who oversaw the current restoration of  Metropolis says, “The premiere of the film took place at the Ufa-Palast am Zoo in Berlin, on January 10, 1927. At the time, the length of the film was 4,189 meters: at a projection speed of 24 frames per second (we can only guess at this today), meaning the showing lasted 153 minutes.   …The actual projection speed for the premiere is unclear. Noted on the deleted piano accompaniment for the shortened version is a projection speed of 28 frames per second.”
With such confusion surrounding the proper projection speed, a simple viewing of the film at 24 fps indicates many of the chase sequences and characters appear to be moving too quickly.  When seeing Metropolis at the slower rate of 20 fps the characters movements appear much more natural.
However, Metropolis at any speed is a real treat to see up on the big screen, in a print that makes the film look absolutely gorgeous, excepting the 25 minutes of badly damaged 16mm footage that has now been carefully inserted into the film.  To celebrate, here is Fritz Lang talking about Metropolis with his friends, Willy Ley, Tonio Selwart and Herman G. Weinberg as recorded and transcribed by Gretchen Weinberg and published in Cahiers Du Cinema in 1965.
Fritz Lang places his hands on the coffee table, while looking at a series of photos from Metropolis spread out before him.
FRITZ LANG: Do you know that there is a shot of my hands in each of my films? Ah, here is Brigitte Helm in Metropolis. God, she’s beautiful! You know, Metropolis was born from my first sight of the New York skyscrapers in October 1924, before I went to Hollywood where UFA was sending me to study American methods of production. It was terribly hot at that time. While visiting New York I felt it was the crucible of the multiple and confused human forces, with blind men scrambling around in the irresistible desire to exploit one another, thus living in perpetual anxiety. I spent an entire day walking the streets. The buildings seemed to be a vertical veil, very light and scintillating, a luxurious backdrop suspended from the gray sky to dazzle, distract and hypnotize. At night the city gave only the impression of living; it lived as illusions do. I knew that I must make a film of all these impressions. On returning to Berlin, in a burst of energy, Thea von Harbou (Lang’s wife) started to write the script. We imagined, she and I, an idle class living in a great city thanks to the subterranean work of thousands of men on the verge of rebellion, led by a daughter of the people. To prevent this rebellion the head of the city asks a scientist to invent a robot in the image of the girl in question. So the robot, Maria, turns against her people and incites the workers to destroy the machine that is the heart of the city, which controls it and gives it life. I have often said that I did not like Metropolis and this is because I can’t accept today the leitmotif of the message of the film. It is absurd to say that the heart is the intermediary between the hands and the brain, that is, of course, between the employee and the employer. The problem is social and not moral. Naturally, during the shooting of the film, I liked it, if I hadn’t I couldn’t have continued to work on it. But later I started to understand what didn’t work. I thought, for example, that one of the faults was the way I had shown the work of the man and the machine together. You remember the clocks and the man who works in harmony with them? He became, so to speak, a part of the machine. Well, that seemed to be too symbolic, too simplistic in its evocation of what is called “the evils of mechanization.” Now, several years ago, I had to revise my judgment again at the sight of our astronauts in their promenade around the world. They were scientists but still prisoners of the space capsule, nothing else—almost a part of the machine that was carrying them.
Lang looks at more photos from Metropolis: the children fleeing the flooded underground city, the robot Maria, the revolt of the workers in the chamber of the machine and the immense stadium used by the children of the ruling class.
FRITZ LANG: See, here’s a shot by Shufftan, it’s Eugene Shufftan who did it. You asked me, Willy, what technical problems we encountered. Well, that scene we shot thanks to mirrors. Shufftan scratched the glass on certain parts of the mirror; then he placed it facing the camera lens so that part of the set–constructed to human scale–appeared in the mirror, which also reflected a miniature set representing the machines in motion. These miniatures extended the real set, because it would have been too costly and too complicated to build for such a short scene. This combination of reality and artifice was then filmed (instead of being done in the lab like it would be now), and that was due to the ingenuity of Shufftan.
Lang looks at a photo of the cityscape of Metropolis.
FRITZ LANG: We constructed a miniature set of the streets about seven or eight feet long, in an old studio with glass walls and we moved the little cars by hand, inch by inch, one frame per movement, filming image by image. We moved the planes and photographed them in the same way. This scene that takes only one or two minutes on the screen took six days to shoot! Ultimately the worse difficulties we encountered were not in the shooting but in the lab. The cameraman had told the technician to develop the film normally. But the head of the lab, knowing the time we had spent filming this short scene, decided to develop it himself. No one had thought it necessary to tell him that for reasons of perspective, the cameraman had filmed the background a little out of focus to give the impression of great distance. The head of the laboratory started to develop the negative focusing the background and not the foreground. The scale of dimensions was then destroyed. I tried to keep my calm. “These things happen, my children,” I said, “Let’s start again.” And we did. (The first thing I discovered about making films is that you never make them alone. Your crew helps you. And I had a remarkable crew.) As for the videophone scene, it was done by projecting a part of the film shot previously in the rear of a telephone apparatus, across a translucent screen, one foot by two. This was the first rear projection and the first transparency. We didn’t realize the importance, the scope of what we had done, for if we had we would have made a fortune patenting a process universally employed today. At the time we only knew that there was a problem that had to be solved. My cameraman, Gunther Rittau, was determined not to fake the shooting; he used his intelligence to arrive at this solution: he synchronized the camera with a projector that was to project the picture of a man on the videophone. That was done with linked rods connected by mobile joints going from the camera to the projector, which were, because of the shooting stage, rather far from each other. Then, when the scene started, the two machines worked at the same time in perfect synchronization. The flooding of the workers city was real, shot in normal scale. Hoses at street level projected water like geysers.

The robot, galvanized by Rotwangs scientific machinery.
The robot, galvanized by Rotwang's scientific machinery.

Another camera effect concentrated on creating the robot Maria. The concentric rings of light that surround her and move from top to bottom were in fact a little ball of silver rapidly turning in a circle and filmed on a background of black velvet. We superimposed those shots, in the lab, over the shot of the robot in a sitting position that we had filmed previously.
The city lit up at night was done with an animated drawing. The way we filmed the explosion of the heart machine was one of the first uses of the subjective camera, giving the audience the same impression that the actors feel of the shock. The camera was attached to a swinging pulley on a vertical board that advanced toward the machine on the platform then moved back to give the effect of the explosion.
Sergei Eisenstein visited me in the studio and we had a controversy about the moving camera versus the fixed camera, but we weren’t able to discuss it for long because of my shooting schedule. I planned to see him several days later, but he had already left Berlin and I never saw him again. Someone told me that he did a study on my working methods on the first Dr. Mabuse, which I’m told was published in Russia.
Speaking of camera effects, there are some that can only be done thanks to make-up. For example, in The Testament of Doctor Mabuse, when Doctor Baum meets the ghost of Mabuse at night, he sees on its head the living brain he had dissected that very morning, in order to discover what anomaly had made Mabuse a great criminal. This is how it was done: we had a special skull on which we put glass tubes outlining the form of the brain. The tubes were filled with mercury so the liquid moved whenever Mabuse did. Between the glass tubes the make-up man put bits of white hair, like Mabuse had in real life, which gave the public the impression of seeing his brain through the skin. To enhance the horrible aspect of the spectre, a bit of eggshell was placed over each eye and the cornea was painted in a deformed way.
Lang looks at a photo of Peter Lorre in M.
FRITZ LANG: Peter Lorre. I discovered him for M, you know. I loved him very much. We were friends for 35 years.
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Restored Metropolis on screen

After screenings in Europe, the newly restored version of METROPOLIS (1927), German director Fritz Lang’s silent science fiction classic, made its U.S. debut in Hollywood as part of the Turner Classic Movies film festival. Subsequent play dates are scheduled in Los Angeles, San Francisco, Tampa, Detroit, Ann Arbor, New York, and Cleveland (full schedule below).
Touted as the precursor to films like BLADE RUNNER, METROPOLIS is cinema’s first example of a science fiction extravaganza, using elaborate miniatures and other special effects to depict a futuristic city engaged in a class conflict between the rich, living in their lofty skyscrapers, and the workers, toiling in machinery rooms down below. Director Lang himself thought the scenario (by his wife, Theo Von Harbou) was somewhat simplistic, yet the film’s visual power has retained its reputation as a classic.
METROPOLIS was the subject of a previous restoration, currently available on DVD from Kino Video, but even that version was incomplete. Two years ago, additional lost footage was discovered in South America and restored by the Munich Film Museum. The footage, part of a 16mm duplicate print, amounted to 25 minutes (approximately one-fifth the film’s running time), including entire sequences – such as the original ending – not seen since the debut in Berlin in 1927. Perhaps equally important to the missing footage was the fact that the 16mm print provided a reliable guide for editing METROPOLIS back into something resembling its original form.
The restoration took one year, costing approximately $840,000.

Hopefully, the restoration will iron out some of METROPOLIS’s narrative weaknesses. The news of a new ending is particularly interesting, as the conclusion of the film (as it has been seen for decades) is somewhat problematical: basically, the conflict is resolved by a hand-shake between representatives of the two factions, and as Philip Strick said in his book Science Fiction Movies, you wouldn’t trust either one of them after the fade out.
In any case, METROPOLIS is one of the most important films in the history of science fiction cinema, and in these days of home video domination, any excuse to get the film back on the big screen is a good one. Theatrical engagements will take place in the following venues:

  • Film Forum in New York, New York – Opens May 7
  • Laemmle Royal Theatre in Los Angeles, California – Opens May 14
  • The Cleveland Museum of Art in Cleveland, Ohio – May 21-23
  • Ken Cinema in San Diego, California – opens June 4
  • Music Box Theatre in Chicago, IL – opens June 4
  • Coolidge Corner Theatre in Brookline, Massachusetts – – opens June 4
  • Lagoon Cinema in Minneapolis, Minnesota – opens June 4
  • Oklahoma City Museum of Art in Oklahoma City, Oklahoma – June 11 only
  • Chez Artiste in Denver, Colorado – opens June 11
  • Detroit Film Theatre in Detroit, Michigan – June 11-20
  • Senator Theatre in Baltimore, Maryland – opens June 11
  • Capitol Theatre in Arlington, Massachusetts – opens June 11
  • West Newton Cinema in West Newton, Massachusetts – opens June 11
  • Robinson Film Center in Shreveport Louisiana – June 18-24
  • Comell Cinema in Ithaca, New York – June 26
  • George Eastman House in Rochester, New York – June 26-27
  • Pacific Cinematheque in Vancouver, British Columbia – July 1-6
  • Zeitgeist Arts Center in New Orleans, Louisiana – July 5-7
  • Cinema 21 in Portland, Oregon – opens July 9
  • Avalon Theatre in Washington, D.C. – opens July 9
  • San Francisco Silent Film Festival in San Francisco, California – July 16
  • Cleveland Cinematheque in Cleveland, Ohio – July 16-17
  • Lake Worth Playhouse in Lake Worth, Florida – July 23-29
  • Mos’ Art Theatre in Lake Park, Florida – July 23-29
  • Tivoli Theatre in St. Louise, Missouri – opens July 23
  • Ritz at the Bourse in Philadelphai, Pennsylvania – opens July 23
  • Bijou Cinema Bistro in San Antonio, Texas – July 27 only
  • Festival Fantasia in Montreal, Quebec – July 28
  • Tivoli Cinemas in Kansas City, Missouri – opens August 6
  • Wexner Center for the Arts in Columbus, Ohio – August 6-7
  • Plaza Classic Film Festival in El Paso, Texas – August 8 only
  • Living Room Theatres in Portland OR – August 6-12
  • Castro Theatre in San Francisco, CA – August 13-15
  • Lake Worth Playhouse in Lake Worth, FL – August 20-26
  • Tampa Theatre in Tampa, Florida – August 29
  • Normal Theatre in Normal IL – September 2-5
  • Museum of Fine Arts in Houston TX – September 2-6
  • Michigan Theatre in Ann Arbor, Michigan – September 12 & 14
  • Jacob Burns Film Center in Pleasantville NY – September 17-23
  • Proctor’s Theatre in Schenectady, New York – September 26-27
  • Milwaukee Film Festival in Milwaukee, Wisconsin – October 1 & 3
  • Memphis Brooks Museum of Art in Memphis, TN – October 4
  • Landmark Midtown Art Cinema in Atlanta, GA – October 1-7
  • University of Nebraska-Lincoln (Ross Media Arts Center in Lincoln NE – October 1-7
  • Landmark Midtown Art Cinema in Atlanta, GA October 1-7
  • Dartmouth College (Hopkins Center) in Hanover, NH – October 15
  • Rockport Music in Rockport, MA – October 17
  • The State Theatre in State College, PA – October 17
  • Pacific Film Archive in Berkeley, CA October 19
  • UC Santa Barbara in Santa Barbara, CA – October 21
  • SIFF Cinema in Seattle, WA – October 21-28
  • Ragtag Cinema in Columbia, MO – October 22-28
  • Ziegfeld Theatre in New York, NY  October 22 through November 4
  • 6 Points Theatre in Jacksonville, FL – October 25-27
  • Bryn Mawr Film Institute – Bryn Mawr, PA – October 26
  • Real Art Ways in Hartford, CT – October 30
  • George Eastman House in Rochester, NY – November 5
  • The Guild Cinema in Alburquerque, NM – November 6-7
  • Cornell Cinema in Ithaca, NY –  November 6
  • The Cleveland Museum of Art in Cleveland, OH – November 6
  • Roxy Theatre in Potsdam, NY – November 8
  • Olympia Film Society in Olympia, WA – November 12
  • The Loft Cine in Tucson, AZ – November 14
  • Calgary Cinematheque in Calgary, Alberta – November 18
  • Savannah Collect of Art & Design (Trustees Theatre) in Savannah, GA – January 8
  • McNay Art Museum in San Antonio, TX – February 24 at 6:30pm

You can check for additional theatrical play dates here.
The restored METROPOLIS was released on DVD and Blu-ray in November 2010.
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Lost scenes from METROPOLIS found!

metropolsHere is some astounding news. Although METROPOLIS has recently been restored by the Munich Film Museum, many of the lost scenes from the 3 hour version that premiered in Berlin in 1927 were still missing. Now, even more of the missing scenes have been found in South America. A report from the German newspaper Die Zeit outlining the details of this sensational discovery (along with some unrestored shots from the missing scenes), can be found here. Read More

Rebuilding Metropolis

InTheNews.Co.Uk alerts us to a remake METROPOLIS:

Fritz Lang’s science-fiction classic Metropolis is set for a 21st century remake, thanks to producers Thomas Schuely and Mario Kassar.
[…]
Alexander producer Schuely has now acquired the rights to update the silent masterpiece.
“With the overwhelming role technology plays in our daily lives, the growing gap between rich and poor, including the gradual elimination of the middle class, the story of Metropolis is a frightening reflection of our society that takes place in an all too possible not too distant future,” he told Variety.
Schuely told the industry newspaper he is negotiating with some of the world’s biggest directors to helm the picture, which should begin shooting in 2008.

I imagine lots of great filmmakers would love to get their hands on METROPOLIS, but I’m not sure we really need a remake. Sure, the themes are relevant, but many of them were already recycled in BLADE RUNNER. (Over here, Cyberpunk review makes the case for considering METROPOLIS the grand-daddy of all cypberpunk cinema.)

Despite my reservations, I can understand the temptation of wanting to recreate the old silent classic with modern special effects technology. The results – in color and widescreen, with stereophonic sound – could be absolutely spectacular.