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March 1995, Week 2


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Film and TV Studies Discussion List <[log in to unmask]>
Thu, 9 Mar 1995 15:25:40 CST
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----------------------------Original message----------------------------
David Smith writes:
"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?"
The Morodor version is listed by Maltin at 87 minutes, compared to 120 for
the original!  I assume there was some hacking away done (although
projection speed--or printing to compensate for silent speed) might be a
factor.  I'm sure someone out there can fill us in on that.  I'm also
curious how the "monochrome" colorization compares to whatever original
tinting might have been used.
There is a lot of guff in the film (as in much of the silent Lang) but
it is interesting how compelling the imagery remains for those associated
with rock music--Queen, Madonna and others continually rip off its imagery
(See "Respect Yourself" especially).  I assume that the film is in the
public domain and open to reconstruction, deconstruction, "sampling," and
just plain fooling around.  This raises again a question that's been
batted around a bit here before--what is the status of the filmic "text" in
a postmodern, digitalized age.  Considering all the things done to Shakespeare
long before movies were even possible, it suggests that "classic" film
texts will be a rich ground for play in the future (though I hope the
originals will be preserved as carefully as possible).
I don't know about the Morodor film, but I believe the score album has been
a good seller.
--Don Larsson, Mankato State U., MN