Wednesday, June 2, 2010


We saw the fully restored version of Fritz Lang's 1927 film "Metropolis" the other day at Film Forum. It has a kind of greatness because of its vision and ambition. This is, after all, a film about a whole society in which the rich, who live in giant skyscrapers, prey on the working poor who live in cave-like residences deep underground the city. These workers who trudge through their long working day as if chained together and with absolutely nothing to live for are far less alive than the robots that the film's evil genius, living in one of those fancy skyscrapers, is trying to create. The plot turns on the actions of the son of the industrial magnate who seems to control the metropolis's entire economy. One day this young man, while in mid-dalliance with a short-skirted playgirl, sees a poor but noble and very beautiful woman with the bedraggled children of the poor. Right then and there he leaves his care-free life of dancing with chorus girls behind to pursue this brave woman underground. He discovers the horrible, inhumane life of the workers and resolves to do something to end their suffering.

A lot happens but hardly any of it is interesting, though it does admittedly happen amid a lot of really creative movie sets, so the design and visual effects are first rate. But somehow it ends with everyone agreeing to work together, including the great magnate who apparently also has second thoughts about what he is doing to destroy people's lives. The moral of the story is that the heart of the mediator, as represented by the son, must unite the head of the magnate with the hands of the workers to bring about peace and prosperity for all. How ridiculous! It really is one of the most overrated films of all time. For those who care about such things, please add your entry for most overrated film below to the ones I have already selected.

Most Overrated Films:

1. Metropolis
2. Citizen Kane (I still love it, but the unending praise is ultimately overdone)
3. Bringing Up Baby (More silly than great)
4. Gone with the Wind (As with Birth of a Nation, the ugly racism overshadows everything else)
5. Annie Hall (Both Manhattan and Stardust Memories are better)

Your Choice______________________________

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