It has taken a year, but the only known nearly complete version of Fritz Lang’s Metropolis has finally made its way from where it was discovered in Buenos Aires to Wiesbaden, Germany where it will undergo restoration at the Friedrich-Wilhelm-Murnau Foundation.
Metropolis, whose futuristic art-deco look and social criticism has influenced countless films since its release in 1927, has been subjected to numerous trims over the years at the hands of various worldwide distributors. Most of those trims were eventually rediscovered, leading to previous restored versions of the film that have been released over the last two decades.
“We’re overjoyed to have it in our hands,” stated Foundation head Helmut Possmann to Euronews. “There were a couple of occasions when we thought we were going get it, but we didn’t. So it’s great it’s here, and we can finally start the restoration work.”
The restoration of Lang’s silent masterpiece of science-fiction and social criticism will be a two part process. First, the newly discovered footage will undergo a much needed digital cleanup before it is edited back into the film’s current 127 minute running time.
The Foundation hopes to have the restoration completed by January, in time for February’s Berlin Film Festival.