Tonight on Turner Classic Movies the digitally restored version of Fritz Lang’s Metropolis, which had a theatrical run earlier this year and has an upcoming Blu-Ray release, will be played in its entirety followed by a documentary on the restoration effort. The restored film includes an additional 25 minutes of footage that were included in the original theatrical release, but had been thought to be lost until a few years ago.
When Metropolis had its original theatrical run in Berlin in 1927 its running time was approximately 153 minutes (running times for silent films varied based on the projectionist because different frame rates were used). Before it was released in the United States the film was cut down to an estimated 90-minutes to make it more easily digestible for a commercial American audience. As Germany became embroiled in war and political turmoil, all of the complete versions of Metropolis were lost. Throughout the years several attempts at restoring the film have been made and several bits and pieces of the film have been found, which have allowed for continually more complete releases.
In the summer of 2008 a complete negative of the film appeared out of the blue in a Buenos Aires film museum that included footage from the film that had not been seen since its Berlin debut. Over the past two years a massive restoration effort has been undertaken, overseen by the Murnau Foundation, and a digitally restored version of the original film is set to be released on Blu-Ray.
TCM will premiere the restored version of Metropolis tonight at 8pm ET/7pm CT followed by the documentary Metropolis Refound at 11pm ET/10pm CT. The Complete Metropolis 2-Disc DVD will be released on November 16th and the 2-disc Blu-Ray will be released on November 23rd.
In honor of this momentous film restoration effort and the attention it will bring to legendary expressionist director Fritz Lang we will be having a marathon over the next several weeks where we highlight the work of the legendary director. There will be reviews and appreciation pieces that are dedicated to one of the most influential auteurs in cinema history. Films we will be focusing on include Metropolis, M, The Woman in the Window, and whatever else we feel like discussing. At the end of the marathon we will have an awards ceremony wherein we reveal our favorite Lang films and the best scenes and performances within.
Join as this month as we discuss the greatness that is Fritz Lang!