Machinenmensch from Metropolis 1927

Metropolis still1

When I was a kid, there was only one Metropolis, and that was the city where Superman lived (I thought it was pronounced like “Metro-polis”).  But then I stumbled upon a picture in a magazine from the 1927 Fritz Lang film Metropolis.  It kinda confused me at first, because I thought this was the same place where Superman lived.  In the film Metropolis, The Future looks pretty cool, that is, if you can afford it.  Turns out:  it’s a dystopian nightmare for everyone else.  In the film, an inventor named Rotwang builds a female robot (a Machinenmensch!) as an expression of unrequited love for a former flame.  Original stills and posters from this film are valuable, this one was selling for $24,000 (no, I did not purchase it).  Here’s the scene where the Machinenmensh is brought to life by Rotwang, reminiscent of the laboratory scene from Frankenstein (which came out 4 years later in 1931):

Although Metropolis is known for its ground breaking special effects, which are numerous and wonderful, I really dig the ridiculously exaggerated over-the-top acting styles embraced by the performers in the film.  Here’s a recent trailer celebrating the 2010 release of a newly restored “definitive” version of the film:

Every Frame a Painting analyzes Kurosawa

This guy named Tony has a YouTube Channel called Every Frame a Painting:  “I like movies.  I don’t take requests.  Every Frame a Painting is dedicated to the analysis of film form.  Pictures and sound all the way, baby.”  Here’s his take on Akira Kurosawa, some great insights here, and if  you are a Kurosawa fan, a great selection of clips from The Master.

Stan Freberg R.I.P. (1926-2015)

stanfrebergfeaturingdawsbutlerandjuneforayandpe-thebestofthestanfrebergshowsWhen I was a kid, my Mom & Dad had a handful of “Comedy Albums”* in their record collection, and my favorite one was The Best of the Stan Freberg Shows (pictured at left):  a double album filled with hilarious comedy sketches which made fun of pop culture and politics (many of which I did not fully understand, but thought they were funny just the same).  His supporting cast included such notables as June Foray (voice of Rocky the Squirrel), Daws Butler (voice of Yogi Bear) and others. Mr. Freberg passed away on  April 7, 2015.

* I also remember albums by Shelly Berman & Bob Newhart.  One joke I remember was something like “… my Mother-in-law, she’s like really old, really old.  Her Social Security number is like, 2 …”, or another one was like “… I hear that women from the moon have their boobs on their backs instead of their chests. (pause) Must be great dancing with them!”.