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March 1995, Week 2


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Film and TV Studies Discussion List <[log in to unmask]>
Mon, 13 Mar 1995 13:46:57 CST
Film and TV Studies Discussion List <[log in to unmask]>
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----------------------------Original message----------------------------
David Smith writes:
"As a sometime student of Weimar culture, I can only cite the political
confusion practised by small men like Friedrich Ebert during that dire
era, as a possible mitigating factor in Lang's case (in other words,
criminal stupidity in political thinking was endemic. Still is.). Lang
also evidently suffered a dire cultural confusion of his own, at least
in the making of METROPOLIS. The film reflects then recently bygone
aesthetic concerns, notably the Futurists' mechanolatry, in a mish-
mash of expressionism (the cellar with the crosses is especially
painful to watch) and nickleodeon melodrama. If Lang had only set
out to make a debauched monster feature and dropped his insane
social theories (slaves who rebel only wind-up destroying their own
homes, for one), then I think he would have produced an enduring
classic. I know there are those who will continue to insist that is
exactly what METROPOLIS is (an enduring classic, not a debauched
monster movie)."
Well, I'd never accuse Lang of being especially politically sophisticated, but
a good deal of the socio-political content his silent films has to come from
his partner/screenwriter/wife Thea von Harbou.  While Lang fled Nazi Germany,
von Harbou stayed behind.  Does anyone know what kind of career she had?
What exactly were her politics?  And how did Lang himself feel about all
--Don Larsson, Mankato State U., MN