Fritz LangGermany153 minutes1927ColourSilent
Fritz Lang's science-fiction super-production nearly drove the great German studio UFA into bankruptcy, but was embraced worldwide as a visionary masterwork. Metropolis depicts a futuristic city where the breathtakingly Babylonian skyscrapers of the rich and powerful are erected atop the hellish subterranean slums and factories of the proletarian poor. When the son of the city's ruler descends into the catacombs and falls in love with a saintly working-class girl (Brigitte Helm), he becomes embroiled in a nefarious scheme by a mad scientist (Rudolf Klein-Rogge) to drive the insurgent workers into an unwinnable confrontation. The apotheosis of German Expressionism, described by Luis Buñuel as a "glorious symphony of movement ... of hitherto unimagined mechanical shapes," Metropolis' mighty mise en scène is akin to the perfection of a monumental machine.