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: