Two years ago in Argentina, a film curator happened upon a lost negative of Fritz Lang’s dystopian masterpiece, Metropolis. The print included 25 minutes of lost footage—scenes that no one had seen since the 1920s—and last week, the subsequent restoration finally made its way to DVD.
Some of the footage adds just a little to our understanding of the film. But one, stunning seven-minute sequence restores several subplots, and seriously deepens our sense of Lang’s original vision. The result is more epic, and even more beautiful than the Metropolis we’ve known and loved. And if you’re happening upon it for the first time, you can look forward to dozens of references—from 2001, Blade Runner, and Batman Returns, among not a few other films—falling instantly into place.
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