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March 1995, Week 2


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David Smith <[log in to unmask]>
Reply To:
Film and TV Studies Discussion List <[log in to unmask]>
Wed, 8 Mar 1995 19:57:49 CST
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----------------------------Original message----------------------------
I just took a quick preview of Giorgio Moroder's demented
198? desecration of Fritz Lang's METROPOLIS. The opening
titling-text describes this travesty as a 'restoration', but
in the same breath admits a 'contemporary score, sound
effects and colour', apparently inspired by 'the film's
novel [script], some stills and illustrations... [etc.]'
My area of particular interest is sub-titling, and I can't
say I was favourably impressed by the cheesy MTV-style
pyramids that jutted into the screen from the top and
bottom. The sub-titling of dialog is utterly inadequate,
and it struck me (not having seen Lang's original)
that the film had been re-edited like a music video at
the expense of narrative exposition. The colorization was
in garish monochrome tints.
If anyone has seen both a reasonable facsimile of Lang's 1926
METROPOLIS, I would appreciate hearing how titling and
dialogue were handled in the original.
And, would anyone agree that an underlying problem of cultural
confusion has been introduced by Moroder in his determination
to make a commercially-viable project out of his 'restoration,'
through the overlay of a 1970's Italian pop design sensibility on
a 1920's German film. (I must admit some of the original footage
is of dubious merit, even in glorious black and white - Lang might
better have stuck to his wonderful machinery montages and left
well enough alone).
By the way, was the project commercially successful?
David Smith
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