February went out like a lion, and yet dozens of us gathered out of love for the cinema and fellowship to watch the Oscars together. It was another grand get-together and thanks to all that worked so hard to prepare things for us. We will start off March with our science fiction theme, “futurist’s nightmare”. The first film we are proud to screen is considered to be the CITIZEN KANE of science fiction movies, METROPOLIS (1927).
It was directed by Fritz Lang, who worked in Germany from 1919 to 1933, creating not only this classic but “M” (1931) as well. Josef Goebbels came to him and offered him the position of “Head of the German Cinema Institute”. Being anti-nazi, he fled to Paris, leaving the position to Lena Riefenstahl. He arrived in America in 1934, and Hollywood put him to work on FURY (1936). He was at the helm of 20 films there until 1956. Some of my favorites include THE RETURN OF FRANK JAMES (1940), SCARLET STREET (1945), CLASH BY NIGHT (1950), and THE BIG HEAT (1953).
Fritz Lang said, “Each picture has some sort of rhythm which only the director can give it. He has to be like the captain of the ship.”
But it is reported he acted too much like Captain Bly, a harsh taskmaster, cruel and egocentric, hard to work with, showing no respect for his actors.
METROPOLIS in the 1001 Movies You Must See Before You Die. It had a cast of 37,000 extras, took two years to film, and cost 2 million dollars, a real fortune in 1925. The primary cinematographer was Karl Freund, with special effects pioneering done by Eugene Schenffton.
Roger Ebert wrote, “This is a seminal film without which countless others that followed cannot fully be appreciated. It does what many great films do–creates a time, place, and characters so striking that they become part of our arsenal of images for imagining the world.”
A silent classic directed by Fritz Lang @ 145 minutes.
The film stars Alfred Abel, Gustav Frohlich, Brigid Helm, and Fritz Rasp.
Tagline: The absolute summit of German Expressionism.
Synopsis: In the futuristic city of Metropolis, incredible prosperity is provided by a dark hidden secret, a world of workers kept below it, treated like robotic slaves–but revolution is brewing beneath their feet, with the working masses trying valiantly to merge the city’s “hands” with its “heart”.
David Borwell wrote,”This is one of the great sacred monsters of the cinema.”
Critic Arthur Lenning wrote, “To enjoy this film the viewer must observe, but never think.”
Peter Bradshaw wrote, “Watching it is to be aware of ghosts and hints of the future–Hitchcock, Riefenstahl, Bergman, Ridley Scott–and yet aware that nothing else looks quite like this extraordinary celluloid opera.”
So join us this Friday, March 4, 2011 for the screening of Fritz Lang’s incredible achievement, METROPOLIS (1927), at 924 Broadway, in the Pythian Temple, street level, across from the Theater on the Square, in the heart of Tacoma’s Theater District. Look for our new Tacoma Film Club banner over the front entrance. Arrive early, around 6:15 p.m., to enjoy a wonderful meal prepared by the Phantom Director and Farishta, and enjoy conversation and fellowship with other early attendees. Remember that this is not a pot luck, but a prepared meal, so bring wine to share if you wish but not other food. We will continue having the TFC raffle, each ticket sold for one dollar, with the winners receiving either 40% of the revenue, or a great DVD from my private collection. In our many years the Club has only shown two other silent films, THE THIEF OF BAGDAD, and THE GENERAL. Do not miss this event. See you at the movies!