Sunday, January 27, 2008
Metropolis' visual sophistication comes lumbered with remarkably crude plot and characterisation. More than any other classic silent film, this one demonstrates why the coming of sound was so important to the movies. It allowed actors to develop stillness and subtlety, neither of which are much in evidence here. The frenetic acting may fit in with the concept of the super-fast mechanised world, but carried over two hours, it's completely exhausting.
Still, Metropolis is well worth seeking out in the restored version, in which the wilder excesses of Rudolf Klein-Rogge's acting are tempered by having the correct subtitles (so we now know he's actually getting worked up about his dead wife rather than improved factory production).
And wouldn't you rather date the evil robot Maria than the good genuine article?