Metropolis Was the Silent Film Blockbuster That Inspired Pat Benatar

Illustration for article titled Metropolis Was the Silent Film Blockbuster That Inspired Pat Benatar

The news that Fritz Lang's 1927 classic Metropolis is being remade by Hollywood made us take another look at the original. For a silent film made 80 years ago, it's still cutting-edge. Strange facts you never knew about this prescient scifi flick, including its odd connection to Pat Benatar, in our Metropolis triviagasm after the jump.

  • Metropolis cost over 7 million Reichmarks to film in 1927, which is about the equivalent of $200 million today. That makes it one of the most expensive silent movies to date.
  • Originally clocking in at over 153 minutes long, most subsequent edits were only 90 minutes in length. The cut footage is believed to have been lost forever.
  • Brigette Helm plays both Maria and a robotrix in the film, even though as the robot you never see her face. Director Lang wanted her to play both parts so audiences would sense a connection between the two characters.
  • That Robotrix costume was so uncomfortable that it left Helm covered in cuts and bruises after filming. Where's SAG when you need it?
  • Film scholars can't agree on what speed Metropolis is meant to be shown. Silent films were hand-cranked at the time, and tended to be between 16 and 20 frames per second. Showings of the film have ranged from 18 fps to 24 fps, resulting in both slowed-down and speeded-up movement.
  • In 1984, music composer Giorgio Moroder made a version of the film replacing the soundtrack with modern rock, featuring Pat Benatar, Adam Ant, Loverboy, and Freddie Mercury. Sadly, this Metropolis Meets The Early 80s edition hasn't been released on DVD.
  • DC Comics released Superman's Metropolis in 1996, based on the film and featuring Lois as "Futura" (the original name for the robot in Lang's script).
  • Osamu Tezuka, creator of Astro Boy, saw a poster for the film and created his own manga called Metropolis. He never actually saw the movie, but his version shares similar themes with the original. An animated version of Tezuka's manga came out in 2001.
  • There have been numerous re-releases of the film over the years, some shortened to an hour. In 2002 a digitally restored version was released on DVD that was 123 minutes.