Okay, I will leave the explication to the professionals, but I do feel obliged as a kind of public-service announcement (and no, I don’t get kickbacks!) to point out that the restoration du jour of Fritz Lang’s 1927 silent classic Metropolis is coming to Manhattan’s Film Forum May 7-20. I say “du jour” because this is now the third restoration since my college days, and I don’t just mean a gussied-up negative; we’re talking boatloads of “new” footage found in Argentina (hmm…), the whole nine yards. It is, naturlich, a mixed blessing for those of us who ponied up to buy the previous restoration on DVD, but when the opportunity presents itself to own a more definitive version of a—some might say the—masterpiece of silent film, one does try to accentuate the positive.
Of course, some of us WOULD have bought the 1984 Giorgio Moroder restoration on a legitimate DVD, were such a thing ever made available, which I don’t believe it has. For those of you unfamiliar with that (hardly surprising, in light of its veritable suppression), pop-music magnate Moroder added not only rediscovered material but also tinting—common in silent films—and a contemporary score featuring artists such as Adam Ant, Pat Benatar, Queen’s Freddy Mercury, Billy Squier, and Bonnie Tyler. Inevitably, many purists howled, but we proponents loved the score, commending Moroder for trying to win the film a new audience as well as restoring it, and although we would never say his version should supplant any others, we feel it should be available for those who want it.
The soapbox is now closed. See details from Film Forum below. Bradley out.