Showing posts from October, 2012

Metropolis: The First Sci Fi Epic

(This is the text of an audio review I provided to The Spirit Blade Underground podcast.  You can find the episode here.)

Metropolis is not the first science fiction film. According to my copy of Phil Hardy’s The Encyclopedia of Science Fiction Movies (1984), that honor goes to the Lumiere short film “The Mechanical Butcher,”  produced in 1895. It is, however, probably one of the most important science fiction films in history.  Its influence is seen in many films even down to what we might call the modern era.

German film director Fritz Lang had just completed an epic six-hour film version of the Nibelungenlied that was critically as well publicly well-received. To follow up, he wanted to make a film about the future.1 He and his (then) wife, the writer Thea von Harbou, set about working on the story of class struggle that would become the core of Metropolis.  When he and von Harbou and producer Erich Pommer traveled to New York to promote Die Nibelungen, he saw for the first time New…