Metropolis Script - Dialogue Transcript

Voila! Finally, the Metropolis script is here for all you quotes spouting fans of the Fritz Lang silent movie.  This script is a transcript that was painstakingly transcribed using the screenplay and/or viewings of Metropolis. I know, I know, I still need to get the cast names in there and I'll be eternally tweaking it, so if you have any corrections, feel free to drop me a line. You won't hurt my feelings. Honest.

Swing on back to Drew's Script-O-Rama afterwards for more free movie scripts!

Metropolis Script



More than a quarter of the film

must be regarded as irretrievable lost.



Few other films have been so

systematically changed, mutilated,



corrupted as this one. Shots and titles

have been omitted and changed



However, of no other such mistreated film

do we know so well



what the film originally looked like.



Fritz Lang and Thea von Harbou,

different-sex Siamese twins.



Just like their film.



The novel: Thea von Harbou's film

behind the, under Fritz Lang's film.



At this point, the music started

during the first screening...



The Metropolis theme.



A fanfare motif...



the orchestra follows...



a column of sound emerges.



Thea von Harbou's message,

Lang didn't believe in it.



He said: "I am fascinated by machines."



Metropolis, the mother city,

city of mothers, mother of all cities.



The city, the film...

they too are machines.






a crankshaft,



an eccentric disk,



A machine without Workers,

devoid of function,



pure movement...

rotating, thrusting...



a machine of desire. Round shapes

and jerking movements become one



within the image of two clocks.



One   -hour and one   -hour clock.



Day shift and night shift,    hours each,

mark the Metropolis working day.



Two groups of Workers,

uniformed, in rows of six,



march in unison,

the exhausted half as fast as the fresh.



"They moved their feet,

but were not walking", reads the novel.



The way people move or are moved

is always highly significant



throughout the film.



The Workers' theme - a funeral march.



The night shift enters a cage...



the grate is raised,



the cage sinks, and with it the camera.



A title picks up the movement.



"Even the titles", the young Luis Buñuel

wrote in his review of the film,



"how they rise and fall,

blend with the movement as a whole,



become pictures themselves."



The title's movement is carried through

to the movement of the picture.



The Workers: Now just a painted

silhouette rising in the background,



the design of the

Underground Workers' City.



Elevators transport the Workers

up and down between the machine halls



and their living quarters.

A new musical theme:



The Theme of the City of the Workers.



The main square of the Workers' City.

Simply a transit area for the Workers



returning to their quarters.

In the centre a gong,



again a kind of alarm clock.



The downward scroll of the title

is answered by a rising,



equilateral triangle pointing skywards.



The Sports stadium,



the contrast is stark between

its openness under sweeping skies



and the cramped City of the Workers -

just as stark as the contrast between



the liberated and carefree movements

of the youths, dressed in white,



and the dull lethargy

of the darkly clothed Workers -



and the self-determined horizontal

movement versus the downward ride



of the Workers in the lift.



A light-hearted waltz,

no musical leitmotiv,



accompanies this scene.

An artificial grotto,



columns like stalactites,

young women in rococo carnival costumes,



Orient-inspired head adornments.



The tricorn is of Venetian origin.



In contrast to the straight course

of the young men -



animated turns - anticlockwise -



directed by a ringmaster - clockwise.



A playground is the pleasure garden

of the sons, an infantile idyll.



Nature, sex,

eroticism in chaste playfulness -



like the water in the fountain:

A transparent dome



masking a statue of a siren.



The youth in white breeches and the girl

with the Cul de Paris play hide and seek.



Their game a dance, a pas-de-deux.



Allusion, yet so intensely innocent



that we do not actually expect

a real kiss.



Instead an expectant glance -



musically accompanied by a new theme,

let us call it the Love Theme...



answered by an apparition, "dressed in

light grey", it reads in the screenplay,



"from the smallest of décolletés

rises a head with solemn eyes



and glowing blonde hair".



"The austere countenance of the virgin,

the sweet countenance of the mother",



reads the novel.



The mother without a man...

Freder's dream.



New to the music is the Freder Theme,



it describes him as a light-hearted,

harmless soul - A pure fool.



The subject of her glance is Freder,

the brother, the son of Fredersen,



the nothing-more-than-son. All names

in Metropolis are steeped in meaning.



Heralded by the clarinet -

a new chorale based theme,



which from now on will accompany

the entrances of the young woman.



A door closes,

communication is interrupted.



This will be repeated at several

decisive moments throughout the film,



providing the impetus for further action

on the part of its heros.



"Nothing could help him - nothing",

the novel states at this point.



"In a tortuous, ecstatic omnipresence

stood before his eyes the vision,



a countenance:

The austere countenance of the virgin,



the sweet countenance of the mother."



Later, we learn that Freder

lost his mother at birth.



Freder runs.



Where will Freder search for the virgin,

the mother?



Not in the Workers' City, as one would

think. Freder arrives in a machine hall.



In this film, we can never be sure

whether what we see,



what the characters see,

actually represents reality



or is a hallucination, a vision, a dream

which sometimes becomes a nightmare.



Freder searches for a woman -

and finds a machine.



In the novel, he now comes face to face

with a machine of his own construction.



He strokes it, feels its limbs,

presses his face to its bulk.



In the film, the machine is also

a living organism.



Freder in the novel: "Tonight I shall

allow myself to be embraced by you,



pour my life into you and discover

whether I can give you life."



Blood pressure and temperature

of the film machine rise.



"Perhaps I will feel your trembling

and the sprouting of pulse



in your rigid body. Perhaps I shall

experience the intoxication



with which you hurl yourself into

your vast element, bearing me,



the man who made you."



But Freder also knows,

Freder in the novel:



"Nothing in this world is more vengeful

than the jealousy of a machine



that feels neglected."



In the film, the machine is called

the M Machine.



M as in mother?



M as in Moloch.

The Moloch theme -



a threatening musical gesture.



The film of the future is also a film

of Antiquity, a biblical film.



Moloch, the God of the Ammonites, to whom

the Israelites also sacrificed children,



to the chagrin of Moses and his God.

The film is littered with associations



to the Old and New Testaments.



In the music, the Moloch Theme switches

to the Theme of the Workers' City.



Platoons of Workers, in rows of six,

march into the mouth of Moloch,



which transforms back into the machine.



A machine, which produces nothing,

which requires the tribute



of the dead and injured -

like the bloody battles of the war,



which occurred only ten years before

the film was made.



Freder runs again...



"Towering structures",

it says in the novel,



"packed together in blocks,

tower up either side of the streets -



more like mountain ranges than homes,

stone cliffs interspersed



with glass-and-concrete buildings -

wide pavements rise above



car-only streets -

and long-distance trains,



electrical express trains

intersect the streets,



aeroplanes hover..."

And in the background



"the New Tower of Babel,

towering above all."



In the music,

the Fredersen theme portrays him



as a self-confident autocrat.

Joh Fredersen, Joh with h -




He is both monopolist and dictator.



In Thomas Pinchon's novel

"Gravity's Rainbow", Franz Pökler,



a kind of Wernher von Braun,

remembers the film,



which he saw as a student in Berlin,

"Great movie." Exactly the world Pökler,



and evidently quite a few others,

were dreaming about,



a corporate City-State, in which

technology was the source of power,



and in which engineers worked closely

with administrators,



and ultimate power

lay with a single leader at the top..."



No sooner had Freder entered this room,

according to Thea's novel,



"than he was once again a boy of ten".

Nothing more than the son of this father.



The music, the Moloch theme, tells us

what Freder is speaking about.



The gestures of the son, unlike those of

the father, display trust, seek contact.



Fredersen looks past him,

his gaze rests on the secretary.



Fredersen's glances are orders,

as are his words, his gestures.



Camera movements are rare in Metropolis

and are always significant.



Here, the camera is guided

by the movements of the actors,



the pace of the discussion

moves the camera, stops it,



moves it on...



first it progresses...



Then it pans with father and son.



It is in the children, not the adults,

that Freder recognises his siblings -



himself as the infant prodigy

of the virgin,



the motherly,



a kind of infant Jesus.



Fredersen is not only ruler

but also builder of Metropolis.



His city - an architectural dream,



a dazzling futuristic city,



constructivist towering structures -



as the urban crownof the New Tower of Babel.



First from the strings,

then the horns,



allegro alla marcia,

the Theme of the Uprising begins.



A video telephone on the wall behind.



Fredersen's office is the control,

communication and command centre.



His power is based on information.



Above Fredersen on the wall, the lower

edge of the   -hour clock is now visible.



Fredersen's power lies in his ability

to control the time of his subordinates.



The Worker, the capitalist,



the clerk -

the model of modern class society.



The position of the seemingly

privileged employee is, in fact,



the most precarious.



Again a door closes behind somebody,



this person's disappearance



motivating Freder to dedicate himself

to this person:



"That people are consumed by

the machines", explains the father



to the son in the novel, "does not prove

that the machines are greedy,



but rather portrays the defective

material of the people themselves."



In industry as well as in war.



Again, Freder runs.



For the father

the door closes behind him.



For the father

the door closes behind him.



Two rooms, two scenes,

screened in parallel,



interrelated, contrasting,

the characters, too,



one commenting on the other -

here the staircase,



there Fredersen's office - this becomes

one of the film's narrative techniques.



Freder has followed Josaphat -



Fredersen, on the other hand,

summons "The Slim One".



Fredersen in right profile.



The Slim One in left profile.

Take note of just how differently



Lang stages dialogue.



Freder again heading downstairs

- "into the depths" -



- and again in an act of viewing.



Once again he is confronted with the

spectacle of a machine. In the novel,



it is called "the Paternoster machine"

- so let's keep it so -,



it keeps the elevator system

in the New Tower of Babel moving.



In the film it has no obvious function,

it is purely metaphorical -



an allegorical machine, if you like.



The change of clothing manifests

Freder's rebellion against the father.



This is the beginning of the incarnation

of the son of Jehovah, his passion.



This cut is, up to now, the most serious

intervention carried out by the adaptors.



The critic Roland Schacht

praised the missing sequence:



Illusions similar to that

of the Yoshiwara pleasure palace,



which distract Georgy from fulfilling

his task, have been used



in French avant-garde films -

"but never to such tremendous,



synthetic, characteristic effect

as in this false,



dazzling 'wax make-up' way".



In ancient times, reads the novel,

a magician from the Orient



built the house in seven days.



Then, from a far distance

came Rotwang and,



overcoming great resistance,

took it for his own.



The Rotwang musical theme

is reminiscent of the Moloch music.



Fredersen is the only person in

Metropolis who respects Rotwang's genius.



The removal of this figure is the gravest

manipulation executed by the adaptors.



The Hel of the Nordic sagas

was the ruler of the underworld,



motherly Goddess of Death.



In Hel, Rotwang has lost his lover,



Fredersen his wife,



Freder his mother - the loss inspires

each of them in their actions.



How Lang stages a dramatic dialogue.



Fredersen in right profile -



Rotwang frontal,

eyes towards the camera -






Fredersen in right profile,

Rotwang in left profile.



The audience alternating, at times

addressee, at times distanced observer.



Curtain up for Rotwang's first scene,

the entry of the mechanical woman,



the New Hel.



On the wall a pentagram,

the magical symbol -



the tip pointing downwards

suggests the satanic.



A metallic phallus with female

physical attributes, with breasts



and on the abdomen, mounted and

exhibited, the genitalia.



The music echoes the most important

components of the Mechanical Woman Theme.



It comprises three motifs, attributed

to the various aspects of the being,



and which at times appear separately,

at times in unison.



Rotwang's artificial limb is steel,

steel from the steel of the creature



to whom he sacrificed his hand.



Another parallel scene -

Freder still at the machine,



Fredersen with Rotwang -

determines the next sequence.



The plan... Fredersen's copy



and the one which Freder finds...



acts as the pivot between

both strands of the plot.



Rotwang's library

- Ancient tomes -



and a neon spiral lamp - Rotwang caught

between Middle Ages and future -



Fredersen in contrast,

with a Chronomètre Movado on his wrist,



is the epitome of twenties modernity.



Freder's Passion

- the factory is his Golgotha -



his cross the clock,

the Father-God's instrument of power.



The omnipotent is not omniscient.



Lack of information is the motivation

for Fredersen's departure.



For the first time we see him

physically in motion,



moving from one scene to another.



Fredersen and Rotwang descend

- from right to left -



left-right the Workers

- Freder between them -



both groups heading towards

the same scene.



Freder, hand on heart again

- the Love Theme from the garden scene



in the background -,

sees "a type of crypt",



it states in the screenplay,

with "eight or ten tall, rough crosses,



but no crucifix.



Countless niches in the walls, the bones

and skulls of thousands of departed



barely visible in the shadows."



A mixture of early Christian place

of worship (Sienkiewicz's Quo Vadis



had just been filmed with Emil Jannings)

And pagan underworld



is the place where Freder meets

the Virgin, the mother, again.



"Look at me, Virgin, his eyes prayed",

it says in the novel,



"Mother, look at me!"



Both strands of the plot intertwine

in Rotwang's and Fredersen's



glance down into the crypt.



They do not recognise

Freder in the scene.



The preacher is reciting a screenplay,



which Freder turns into a film for us.



The Creative Man, priest,

ruler, architect.



Accompanied by the music, played during

the opening credits of the film.



What here looks like a mammoth

construction in panoramic shot



turns out to be a model, around which

a group of architects has gathered.



New to the music:

The Tower of Babel Theme.



Five groups of Workers, a metaphor:

Like the fingers on a hand.



End of the simile, the sermon,

end of the projection.



A look into the camera,

into our eyes.



The epigram.

This is awarded its own musical motif.



Thus we learn her name.



In the novel Freder asks:

"What should I call you?"



She answers: "Mary." He answers:



"Only this can be your name."



Allegro alla marcia:

The Theme of the Uprising.



Fredersen believes he has seen enough.



What Rotwang sees, however, and wants

to prevent Fredersen from seeing,



because a new plan

is germinating in his mind:



A dialogue is opening.

Freder's gaze is searching for Mary.



His hand beckons her,



he begins to speak,



his eyes follow her,



the camera assumes his gaze,

which become one with her movements,



scans her gaze,

sweeps her gaze directly into the camera,



moving gently to him,



unites both in the picture...

the speaker always in semi-profile,



the listener laterally from behind.



An erotic dialogue,

regardless of what the titles say.



The Love Theme is playing



- now stops -



and is replaced by

the Rotwang and Fredersen Themes



in accentuated variations.



The couple is musically threatened

by the Theme of the Uprising.



Will Rotwang give up his project

to recreate Hel,



or will he extend it, if it can be used

to steal his rival's son from him...



the son of Hel,



who he himself expected from her?



Mary's light is candlelight,

natural, soft like her.



The realm of death, the realm of Hel.



Is Freder's dead mother jealous

of her son's love,



is this why she joins forces

with her destroyer?



Rotwang's lamp is a mechanical tool,

like his steel hand,



the entire man

a hybrid of man and machine.



Lucifer, "the bringer of light",

is one of the Evil One's names.



He showed this scene to a

Hollywood specialist, wrote Lang.



"This beam of light which impales

the prey on a sharp needle,



refuses to release it, driving it

before him in relentless pursuit,



onwards into a state of abject panic,

caused the mild-mannered American



to confess naively: 'We can't do this! '

They could do it", said Lang,



"they just did not think of it", and:

"Light and shadow should not only



be used to convey a mood, but should also

play a decisive role in the action."



The cathedral:

A second piece of the Middle Ages



"Mysticism, gothic, grandeur,



ceremony, incense",

it says in the screenplay,



"in the centre of the scene,

a column reaching towards the heavens



like the trunk of a palm." In the novel

the cathedral harbours a fanatical sect,



the Gothics, who persistently

offer Fredersen resistance.



The adaptors of the film reduced

this strand of the plot even more.



Again, a parallel action which interferes

in the current action,



transforms it into a fantasia.



The music in the cathedral scene:

The "Dies irae",



musical epitome for death and disaster.



In the original version of the film,

the musical leitmotif is intertwined



with the memory of the penitential

sermon of the monk at the cathedral.



This is the longest piece

to have been cut from the film.



The story of Freder, the good boy,



Rotwang, the sorcerer and the abducted

Mary gives Metropolis



the air of a fairytale

in a particularly unambiguous way.



Many fairytales are based on

the abduction of a person.



The evil character

captures or imprisons someone,



he foists another person

onto this person,



he transforms the person into another or

presents another person as the captive...



as Rotwang intends to do with Mary.



The hero, searching for the object

or person he is missing,



reaches the place

where the captive is being held.



The hero, the searcher is shown the way.



"Like the trail of a scent",

says the novel,



"the glow in front of him

led him up the stairs."



The old house sucks Freder in,

it makes him its prisoner,



it draws him into the depths.



The machinery of the old house is like

a model of the narrative mechanism,



which keeps both

hero and audience moving...



always being shown something,

before it quickly disappears again.



Another sign... Mary's scarf.



And once again Freder's call for

the virgin, the mother is answered by...



a vision, a staging.



An earlier concept for the film

presented medieval and modern ages



in different forms.

"Mrs. Von Harbou and l",



remembers Lang forty years later,

"included a battle between modern science



and occultism in the screenplay,

the sorcerer was the evil force



behind all events" - but they deviated,

Lang says, from this concept.



Although not entirely:



"Centuries behind, centuries ahead",

it says in the screenplay,



Rotwang's laboratory was "half a quack's

kitchen from the year     



and half experimental laboratory

of a man from the year     ."



In Rotwang's character Harbou and Lang

merged both magic and modernity



in one entity. A hermaphrodite,

like the film in which he appears.



That could have been conceived and staged

by him, just like the transformation



of the mechanical woman

into the image of Mary.



His staging combines both feminine

and masculine form and movement,



translated into a spectacle of light.



A Luciferic act of procreation.



Rotwang endows his machine

with Mary's attributes...



but he also allows the feminine

sexuality, which is repressed



in the figure of the virgin-mother,

to be unleashed in the double.



The chaste Mary, the white and merciful,

the virgin,



and the hot, destructive,

the red, the vamp



are two aspects of the same character.



Rotwang's experimental table,

with Mary as Snow White waiting



in her glass coffin to be awakened,

can be seen as the couch



of Rotwang the psychoanalyst.

Her subconscious manifests itself



in the arcs of light stretching

between her and the mechanical woman.



Freder, like awakening from a nightmare,

sees himself in another one.



Hel's room...

her memorial is behind the curtain.



Mary's Theme, agitato, in a minor key.



The false Mary,

flesh of the flesh of the true Mary,



while at the same time

a remote-controlled machine at the core.



Why is Fredersen so doggedly determined,

to destroy the true Mary?



In the figure of the merciful preacher,

he seems to sense a female challenge



- that of matriarchy - to his patriarchal

principle of absolute power.



Freder's Oedipus experience.



The shock causes Freder to see father

and mother - whom he images as Mary -



rotating around each other. At this point

in the novel Freder chokes his father:



"I want to kill you! I want to

destroy you! I want to murder you!"



In the film, a fall

- "downwards, into the depth" -



into the chasm of his subconscious.



Freder in bed,



the father in tails.

An obvious feeling of helplessness



in front of his father's

aura of authority.



The son remains in the care of the,

in part female, staff.



A sick child.



Freder's unconscious state

again fades into a Rotwang staging.



Can it be that Freder and Rotwang

are not so much rivals



as the alter egos of each other?

They love the same woman, the dead Hel.



The absence of the mother,

the lover provides the inspiration



for Freder's visions just as much as

for Rotwang's stagings.



Rotwang's audience consists

entirely of men, old and young,



fathers and sons.



"Like a blasphemous halo",

says the screenplay,



the diadem on the woman's head appears

in the round opening of the domed roof...



that fades out. Rotwang's show is a film,



another of Rotwang's light productions,

with footlights and counter lighting.



Rotwang's show and Freder's delirium

become one.



An important strand in this mesh,

Freder's reminiscence



of the monk's sermo in the cathedral,

has again been cut by the adaptors.



Diverges from the action which was shown:



Isolated, edited gestures

and the positions of the dancer,



combined with the picture

of the audience



- groups, singles, only eyes finally -



Rotwang's production becomes Lang's...

pure montage cinema.



Rotwang's show

now clearly becomes Freder's vision,



the memory of the seven deadly sins

in the cathedral,



of the monk's sermon

on the Whore of Babylon,



which he associates with the image

of the false Mary, the New Hel,



the mother-whore...



which becomes one with that

of the Metropolis, the Mother City.



Freder, convalescent, is reading.



A copy of the page which was shown

at this point in the film.



Again, two parallel scenes, the second

once more cut by the adaptors.



The spy reports to the father,



the friend to the son.



Nothing remains of this scene,

but screenplay and score



lead to the assumption

that these takes were repeated here.



Only very few of the Yoshiwara takes

have remained intact,



this one in a copy found in Australia,



incomplete, the end is missing,

as one of the sons shoots the other.



Freder and Josaphat set off,



Fredersen gives Slim an order...



A third reporting situation

is blended in after the other two.



Rotwang tells Mary.



Included in his report,



as a parallel action, is the activity

about which Rotwang is speaking.



Like the group of rich sons

in the dancehall,



the group of Workers in the catacombs,

too, fall under the spell of the vamp.



Like the evil character in a fairy tale,

Rotwang pretends his own child



to be the one he keeps as a prisoner.



Ufa regarded the "red" Mary's speech

as "inciting"



and ordered a milder form for

the second version. Instead of...



the title became:

"Who wants to work himself to death



for the rulers of Metropolis?"



Instead of...



"Who is the life force

of the machines of Metropolis?"



Instead of...



in the revised version it became:

"Who are the slaves of Metropolis?"



And for...



the false Mary had to say:

"Let them rot..."



Freder, who only had visions before,

has gained a critical, perceiving view.



He sees through the double.



The adaptors found the construction with

Rotwang's report as the framework



around the second catacomb scene

too complicated.



Georgy's martyrdom not only seals

Freder's new role



as a critical perceiver,

but also shows him as a future saviour,



as a new Messiah.



The central square of the Workers' City

has become a stage



in the theatre of the revolution.



The first beats of the Marseillaise.

Not only the music is imbued



with the character of a citation.

The way the false Mary whips the crowd



into a frenzy corresponds to her

performance in front of the rich sons.



The gong podium is a tribune for the

performance in which not only she



takes part but an ecstatic ensemble.



The elevators. Earlier we saw the night

shift advancing into the elevators



for transportation into the depths...

now they are being stormed



by men and women, who use them

to go upwards. In a later scene,



the movement accelerated and reversed,

we will see them - empty - crashing down.



In the beginning only men were

present here, now we see women,



the workers' wives, female workers.



The face of the repressed masses

"was male; only with the uprising,"



unleashed, does this face obtain female

traits, does its female base appear,



hitherto oppressed by organisation,

control, discipline.



Again the same venues

as in the beginning,



in reverse order and viewing direction.

At the start the Workers,



silently waiting for the raising

of the grating - now the unleashed mass,



men and women,

deliriously determined to blow it up.



The children, abandoned by their

biological fathers and mothers,



offered for adoption by Mary,

the maternal, and Freder, the brother.



Again two people,



two venues, alternating,



audio-visually bound by the

video-telephone in Fredersen's office,



control and command tool

of the ruler of Metropolis.



Subordinate and superior.



Back to the sounds of the Marseillaise,

the storming of the Heart Machine.



The two Marys, now in parallel action:



The true, the white, finally free

to continue her reconciliation work...



and the false, the red, the force

behind uprising and destruction.



Mary on her way

to the City of the Workers,



to save the children abandoned

by their fathers and mothers.



Like a counter-manoeuvre

to her own creation by Rotwang,



as a light show, electric pyrotechnic

sorcery, the false Mary instigates



the destruction of the Heart Machine...



before leaving the stage

via a back stairway,



a shadow ascending a staircase,

exit to another theatre,



another audience, the sons of the rich.



Arm movements as though in parody

of the rotating of the disk,



still identifying with the machine

even during its destruction.



The elevators now finally descending,




The water. "It was said",

records the novel,



"deep under the city there wanders

a stream." Joh Fredersen constructed



a path for the stream when he built

the City of the Workers.



"It was also said that the stream

was feeding a large reservoir



and that there was a pumping station

there, powerful enough, to fill or empty



the reservoir in less than    hours."



The subterranean streams had been

channelled, disciplined,



obstructed by Fredersen and coupled

to the machines - as had the people.



Now the unleashed waters of the depths

join the uprising of the humans.



We have seen Rotwang working the levers

in his laboratory and the other Mary



working the levers of the Heart Machine.

Now she is moving the levers



of the gong machine.

The gong podium, the alarm clock,



the tribune hosting the revolt,

is now used to save the children.



The square fills with the water

and the children.



It is almost as if the children

are involved in the flood,



even though their own lives are

in danger, as if they perceive



the absence of adults and breaching

of the banks as a liberation.



The upper city too has been robbed

of electric light through



the destruction of the Heart Machine,

causing Fredersen to reach for



his flashlight...

to receive Slim in its glow.



No more doubt:



A couple of lovers...



but more like a couple of parents,



without act of procreation,

through adoption, by saving the children,



abandoned by their biological parents.



Not just a couple, but three, a trinity,



of which there soon will be more,

with interchanging members.



They take care of the children,

the innocent offspring of the Workers,



who have refused to be rescued by them.



A last climb through the airshaft

from the depths of the Workers' City



to the Club of the Sons.



The flying camera simulates

the pressure of the explosion



which rocks the city to its foundations.



Finale with Mary's theme...



general pause...



then again the Theme of the Uprising,

men and women dancing in two



concentric circles, as though still under

the spell of the machines they destroyed.



Four, actually five venues and actions

with various characters



are now interconnected:



Fredersen's office...



Fredersen, Slim...



then the machine hall

with the destroyed Moloch machine...



This question is musically answered...



by a motif from the

Mechanical Woman's Theme.



Thirdly, the Yoshiwara,

where - to a foxtrot - the false Mary



leads the sons of the rich

to dance on the volcano.



The Workers abandon the scene of action.



Fourthly, the entrance

of the Club of the Sons,



with Freder. Here, a shot with Mary

has been cut by the adaptors.



And the children.



A square beneath this one,

which the Workers,



ascending from the machine halls,

have reached.



And finally, fifthly,

Rotwang's attic room,



where Fredersen's down and out

opponent recovers.



This plot of interwoven strands again

proved too complicated for the adaptors,



they rearranged, they condensed.



They edited the film, giving the

impression that the false Mary



is the only victim of the witch-hunt

and that the true Mary is in no danger.



By readjusting this shot

the true Mary becomes the other.



Only when you carefully look,

you see - here! - 



Mary running across the screen

escaping from her pursuers,



who manage to couple her double.



Fittingly, the Workers construct

a stake in front of the cathedral.



The stake is made from metal,

the wrecks of cars,



partly with their headlights




The false Mary tied to the stake.



She who was created by electrical sparks,

totally in her element,



in a display of masochistic lust.



Josaphat and Freder separated.



Rotwang had awakened,

it says in the novel,



"but he knew he had died.

And this realisation filled him



with the deepest satisfaction.

He only wanted his Hel.



Upon finding Hel he would no longer

have reason to quarrel



with anything on earth."



"Hel", he says in the novel.

"I am not a ghost,



although I have died,

I had to die to come to you."



Mary, the virgin, and her double,

both in mortal danger,



a mirror image in one scene.



The red Mary at the stake,

the white in the cathedral,



pursued by Rotwang.



The bells of the cathedral

come to her aid...



beckoning the saviour,



like the gong before

in the Workers' City.



As Freder watches, the fire burns away

the flesh of the false Mary



revealing her mechanical core,



musically triumphant, accompanied by

one of the Mechanical Woman motifs



in vibrant major.



The scene on the cathedral roof

is reminiscent of Victor Hugo's



"Hunchback of Notre Dame". The novel had

recently been filmed with Lon Chaney.



An unmistakable reference:

The gargoyles.



After the demise of the evil

half of the female double pair,



the final battle between

the two male rivals



is enacted on the roof of the cathedral.



Freder, the naive fool, has learnt

through his passion to differentiate



between truth and lies. Then in the face

of the needs of the children



he has ripened to an active person,

now he is capable of dealing



with his antagonist.



Fredersen kneeling...

he too maturing through suffering.



Slim and Josaphat

- another antagonistic pair -



unite to offer him assistance.



And finally Grot, the foreman,

less class-conscious



than loyal to his rulers.



In Pynchon's "Gravity's Rainbow",

Pökler remembers how Rotwang carried Mary



onto the roof of the cathedral.

He was "taken by Klein-Rogge



playing the mad inventor,

who he himself and his fellow students



would have loved to be.



Indispensable to those who ran

the Metropolis, yet at the end



the untameable lion who could let it

all crash, girl, State,



masses, himself,



asserting his reality against them all

in one last roaring plunge



from rooftop to street",

so remembers Pökler.



In Harbou's novel the chastened Fredersen

finds comfort with his mother,



who does not appear in the film,

she gives him a letter from his dead wife



who pledges her love

throughout all eternity.



A female trinity has the last word:



Mary, Fredersen's mother, Hel.



In Harbou's screenplay, Mary - acting

on an appeal from the Workers' wives -



calls on Freder to be a mediator.

In the film as shot by Lang,



the women retreat totally into

the underground and background.



The women retreat totally into

the underground and background.



For the finale: The Mediator Theme.



The Workers, as at the beginning

of the film, disciplined,



darkly clothed and uniformed, marching

in unison in triangular formation,



the loyal foreman at the vanguard,

ascend the steps at the cathedral



to meet the triumvirate

awaiting them in the portal.



The Mediator Theme culminates

in a combination



of the Mary and the Metropolis Themes.



The rest is dealt with by the chiefs,

the representatives of State and People,



of Capital and Labour.



The social partners still require

mutual trust.



They need a mediator,

removed from the parties' interests.



Mary, as a woman is permitted

to deliver the cue,



thus completing her task.



A male trinity analogous to the Father,

the Son



and the Holy Spirit has been formed.



Metropolis is a film of superlatives

also insofar as no other film



provoked as much criticism,

analysis and interpretation,



at least not since the nineteen-eighties,

simultaneously and in conjunction



with new versions, new recordings,

reconstruction attempts,



and allusions to this film in new ones.



The film, its metaphors,

its allegory require interpretation.



The interpretation is part of the

film's story, even if contradictory,



bizarre and excessive. There is no need

to believe or accept any of them,



but they should be acknowledged as this

is one of the pleasures the film offers,



which are unthinkable without a certain

degree of light-hearted detachment.



The commentary you have heard

was compiled by Enno Patalas,



read by David Cooke, notes on the music

have been provided by Rainer Fabich.




Special help by SergeiK