Metropolis (1927) is a film student’s dream as well as their nightmare. The restored version with its original orchestral music and beautifully restored picture is so crisp and so gorgeous that it’s a joy to watch. But when you’ve seen M and other films from the 20s that haven’t been restored, you have to wonder how close to Fritz Lang’s original artistic vision and intent this restoration is.
Watching Metropolis was exhilarating.The music was epic and inspiring and totally fitting to the brilliant imagery on screen. It was truly hard to believe some of the scenes were shot in 1927. The editing was crisp and well-paced, the cinematography was absolutely stunning and the acting is some of the best I’ve seen in silent film (since you can’t compare silent acting to sound acting).
And all of this leads to the half-assed conclusion that this film was, is, and probably will be one of the greatest films ever made despite not knowing exactly what this film would have looked like at its release in 1927. I’ve read enough people who claim that it was the greatest film ever made at the time of its release to be conflicted about this film from a perspective of authenticity. However I will probably end up watching it again just to see what else there is to see, experience the beauty of this film again, because above all else, this is one of the most aesthetically beautiful films ever made, lost, and restored.