To the new tower of Babel!


Watched the new restoration of Fritz Lang’s Metropolis on DVD last night, which was wonderfully clear; a revelation, truly, and despite controversy about playback speed, a very affecting experience. Did find myself longing at times for a little Pat Benatar or Freddy Mercury — surely I cannot be the only fan of Giorgio Moroder’s 1984 pop-score “reinvention” of the film? — to the point where earlier tonight I dug out my ancient VHS copy of the long out-of-print Vestron video release. Cheesy at times, yes (this is the man who unleashed Berlin’s “Take My Breath Away” on the world, after all), but is it really any less so than Gottfried Huppertz’s cloying original score*, included on the current Kino disc? One could argue that the driving electronic beats of Moroder are actually more appropriate to the mechanical heartbeat of Metropolis. On the other hand, Adam Ant. Hee, point taken.

The real tragedy here is that I completely missed the Alloy Orchestra’s run of Metropolis when they came through Seattle a few years ago.

Speaking of reinvented scores, for a real treat (both cinematically and musically), check out the Criterion Collection’s DVD release of The Passion of Joan of Arc, Carl Theodor Dreyer’s 1928 silent masterpiece**, with Richard Einhorn’s Voices of Light included as an alternate audio track. The movie by itself is a transcendental experience (possibly my favorite film ever), and the music (featuring Anonymous 4) is nothing to sniff at either. I became familiar with each separately, not realizing at first that Einhorn had designed Voices to accompany the film. Together, well, wow.

* the advantage both scores have in this case is that they are both infinitely better than the nadir of Metropolis-related music, which surely has to go to the atrocious 1989 musical, first staged in London (and which nevertheless has an inexplicable following).
**Passion is a film whose history is as spotted and star-crossed as Metropolis itself. A victim of mishap and censors, its story has a happy ending: a print of Dreyer’s original cut was miraculously recovered from a mental hospital in 1981, nearly fifty years after its original form was thought irretrievably lost. Faint hope for Metropolis?

Shocked to discover while grabbing links for this entry that Anonymous 4 is disbanding…!

  • Courtney

    You should feel blessed to have access to the Moroder version... I have searched high and low and cannot find it anywhere. Such a fan, I am. Very sad, I am. The copy which could be rented reliably every couple of years or so at our local obscure video store is no more. Sigh.

  • Don't forget the USB electric blanket to add to the collection of USB powered home appliances.

  • This kills me. Seriously. I have the video of the Passion of Joan of Arc, and the Anonymous 4 soundtrack for it is #1 on my list for CDs to be on an island with. It's the best CD ever. ever. And it goes really well with talking rain ginger ale.

  • yukino

    fantastic :)

    It wasn't a remake as much as it was a restoration of the original film + color tinting + new soundtrack.

    More true of a reinvention/remake was the 2000 anime version based on the Tezuka Osamu manga.

  • I'm not really commenting on the post as such... so I'll just say this: "I know not of these early 70s sitcoms of which you speak, earthling." They redid Metropolis? What ever possessed them...

    Anyhow, I'm getting off track in my not-on-topic comment. The real reason for my being here is I found a USB coffee keeper-warmer to go along with the toothbrush! I'm going to have to buy another USB hub! Whoo!

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