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The Scroll

No. 34: Metropolis

Silent masterpiece

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Alfred Abel as Joh Fredersen in Metropolis (Kino International)

1927, dir. Fritz Lang. Fritz Lang’s masterpiece, the most expensive silent film in history, is a classic case of the medium being the message. The story is thin—a master class living in luxury, workers toiling in subhuman conditions—and rich with biblical allusions and other tired tropes. But the glorious art deco set is a marvel and the master cinematographer Karl Freund brings each bombastic building to menacing life. Luckily, both Lang and Freund managed to escape Germany and end up in Hollywood, where the former made harsh noirs and the latter shot episodes of I Love Lucy.

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How is this remotely a Jewish film? The script by spouse (and Prussian Catholic) Thea von Harbou is full of Christian preachings–at least the uncut version I’ve seen is. A must see for any film buff, no question there, but I must politely disagree on it being on this list….

Neil Blonstein says:

Metropolis includes signage in Esperanto, a language created by the humanist Jew, L.L. Zamenhof.

This was also one of Hitler’s favorite movies, because he felt he could be the “heart” that united the head and the hands in his utopian German society. Not to reduce the merit of the film and its importance in film history, but it’s not a Jewish movie.


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No. 34: Metropolis

Silent masterpiece

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