Metropolis - Sound, Fury and Video Phones / by Dan Weingrod

Had the incredible opportunity last night to see the newly "remastered" version of "Metropolis" with the Alloy Orchestra providing the live soundtrack. I'd never seen Metropolis before, nor a silent film with live musical accompaniment.

The Alloy's modernist soundtrack and virtuoso live performance really drove the power of the film. I was really surprised by how much percussion was an integral part of the soundtrack, but it really brought to life the vision of a futuristic mechanized world.

It really made it clear for me again how well creativity can function when we have LESS to work with. I was somewhat prepared for Lang's future urban vision, having seen it in stills. But what was surprising was how much more he was able to do with the, for us, limited tools at his disposal.

An example of this was the actress, Brigitte Helm, who played Maria, (Image #2 above).She begins the film as a working class heroine and then is transformed into the robotic and scandalous "Machine-Man Maria". It was actually quite amazing to see her ability to transform herself from one Maria to the other without the use of her voice, color and so many other things we take for granted.

Oh yeah, they also predicted video phones.