In 2008, employees at the Museo del Cine Pablo Ducrós Hicken in Buenos Aires unearthed a dusty 16mm reel in a back storage area. Upon further examination, they were astonished to discover that it was a dupe negative of Fritz Lang's science fiction masterpiece, "Metropolis." Their discovery went from delightful to jaw-dropping when they realized that not only was it a rare copy — it was a copy that included 25 minutes of missing footage that had been lost for more than 80 years.
In 1927, following the film's debut in Berlin, Paramount severely edited "Metropolis" for U.S. release, changing the character names and leaving nearly a quarter of the film on the cutting room floor. Lang objected vehemently, but was overruled. Germany soon followed suit, withdrawing the original cut and re-releasing the U.S. version in theaters. Decades passed, and soon Lang's cut was all but forgotten.
After the discovery in Buenos Aires, the Murnau Foundation funded an extended restoration of the film, and Lang's vision returned to the cinema at last. The production stills below are nearly as rare as the restored film, and offer a thrilling glimpse behind the scenes of Lang's masterpiece — one of the world's earliest and greatest works of science fiction and special effects.
Germany, 1927, reconstructed & restored 2010, 150 minutes
Production Company: Universum-Film AG (Ufa), Berlin
Director: Fritz Lang
Cinematographers: Karl Freund, Günther Rittau
Special Effects: Eugen Schüfftan
Music: Gottfried Huppertz
Producer: Erich Pommer
Script: Thea von Harbou
Art Directors: Otto Hunte, Erich Kettelhut, Karl Vollbrecht
Sculptures: Walter Schultze-Mittendorf
Maria: Brigitte Helm
Joh Fredersen: Alfred Abel
Freder, Joh Fredersen’s son: Gustav Fröhlich
Rotwang, the inventor: Rudolf Klein-Rogge
The Thin Man: Fritz Rasp
Josaphat: Theodor Loos
11811: Erwin Biswanger
Grot, the GUARDIAN of the Heart-Machine: Heinrich George
For more information on the restoration, visit metropolis1927.com.
To purchase the restored version on Blu-ray, click here.