SCREEN-L Archives

March 1995, Week 3


Options: Use Monospaced Font
Show Text Part by Default
Show All Mail Headers

Message: [<< First] [< Prev] [Next >] [Last >>]
Topic: [<< First] [< Prev] [Next >] [Last >>]
Author: [<< First] [< Prev] [Next >] [Last >>]

Print Reply
Tony Williams <[log in to unmask]>
Reply To:
Film and TV Studies Discussion List <[log in to unmask]>
Wed, 15 Mar 1995 19:35:47 CST
text/plain (32 lines)
----------------------------Original message----------------------------
From: Tony Williams
 Lang's former wife Thea Van Harbou (I beleive she divorced him after he
fled from Nazi Germany) was an ardent supporter of Hitler and a Party
member. Much of the naive politics and sentimentalism stems from her
screenplay and interests. I believe that she published METROPOLIS as a
novel following the film's release. The book was actually translated into
English and circulated in the 1930s (copies may still be available in
second hand bookshops both sides of the Atlantic). Actually, the book
is far more sentimental and reactionary than the completed film. I guess
Lotte Eisner or any of the critical work on Lang may provide further
information concerning his reaction to both METROPOLIS and his former
  Bound up with this question is a tendency to regard directors as people
who should be above falling into the dangerous political currents of their
era and thinking more about the implications of their work. Unfortunately,
many directors (and stars) are as fallible as the majority are in a particular
historical era in making the "wrong" choice. Also, if you note Lang's comment
about the purpose of making M being to warn mothers to look after their
children better you'll see a gap between stated intention and the wider
implications of a work. (This is a particular instance and I don't want to
verge into the complicated nature of the production debate going on in
another mailing). Basically, it is so easy to be correct in hindsight less
difficult at certain times to really evaluate the implications of the
material used in any creative process.
 Finally, despite its "classic" status, I don't think Lang regarded
METROPOLISas being among his major achievements. Possibly, in hindsight,
he may have been embarrassed about some of its features as most contemporary
viewers are today. Tony Williams, SIU Carbondale.