Today! Because someone has to stay at the machine!
Directed by Fritz Lang
Starring Brigitte Helm, Alfred Abel, Gustav Frohlich, Rudolf Klein-Rogge, Fritz Rasp, Theodor Loos, Heinrich George
The oldest film on the list, the only silent made during the silent era, another rare foreign movie, and the grandaddy of all science fiction films, Metropolis was divisive in its day among critics – mostly due to its excessive length and somewhat heavy handed adaptation by Thea von Harbou from her own novel – and remains divisive to this day, mostly inside my marriage. Audiences and critics alike over the years came around to its complete masterpiece status; the wife, not so much.
A futuristic society (by 1927 terms) that looks not unlike modern day Manhattan (albeit with more sky trains) features a stark division in classes, with those above ground the lords of the city, and those below manning the machines that keep it running. The growing discontent with this set up leads a prophet of sorts to emerge, in the form of Brigitte Helm’s Maria, who preaches of the coming of a mediator to settle differences between the classes – the Brain and the Hands. The Brains, for the most part, are not excited about this prospect.