New Release: The Complete Metropolis DVD and Blu-ray

Kino International released the newest restoration of Fritz Lang’s 1927 silent science-fiction masterpiece Metropolis on DVD on Nov. 16, 2010, and Blu-ray on Nov. 23, 2010. The Complete Metropolis, as it is billed, carries a list price of $29.95 and $39.95, respectively.

Featuring 25 minutes of previously lost footage and the original Gottfried Huppertz score, The Complete Metropolis is only six minutes shorter than the film Fritz Lang premiered in January of 1927 in Berlin. This latest version of the famously “incomplete” film was made possible due to an essentially complete 16mm dupe negative (struck decades ago, from a now-destroyed nitrate print) discovered by the curator of the Buenos Aires Museo del Cine in 2008.

Such a rare discovery demanded another restoration of this classic film, and the Murnau Stiftung (Foundation), under the supervision of Film Restorer Anke Wilkening, embraced the challenge of putting together the most historically accurate version of the German film masterpiece. Also returning was Martin Koerber, Film Department Curator of the Deutsche Kinimathek, who had supervised a previous restoration in 2001.

In viewing The Complete Metropolis, the Argentine footage is clearly identifiable, mostly because this new footage comes from a 16mm dupe negative, unlike the rest of the film – restored from 35mm negatives and prints. The unintended benefit is that it provides convenient earmarks to the recently reintegrated scenes.

The work on the restoration teaches us once more that no restoration is ever definitive,” says Wilkening. “Even if we are allowed for the first time to come as close to the first release as ever before, the new version will still remain an approach. The rediscovered sections, which change the film’s composition, … always be recognizable through their damages as those parts that had been lost for 80 years.”

Here’s a list of the special features found on the DVD and Blu-ray disc:

  • original 1927 score by Gottfried Huppertz, performed by the Rundfunk Symphony Orchestra, Berlin, conducted by Frank Strobel presented in 5.1 Dolby Digital Surround
  • “Voyage to Metropolis,” a 50-minute documentary on the making and restoration of the film
  • Interview with Paula Felix-Didier, curator of the Museo del Cine, Buenos Aires, where the missing footage was discovered
  • 2010 re-release trailer

The DVD package has a Limited Edition collectible O-card and the Blu-ray a Limited Edition collectible 3D lenticular box. On the Blu-ray, the video is 1920 x 1080p, and the Voyage to Metropolis documentary is in high-definition.


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About Laurence

Founder and editor Laurence Lerman saw Alfred Hitchcock’s North by Northwest when he was 13 years old and that’s all it took. He has been writing about film and video for more than a quarter of a century for magazines, anthologies, websites and most recently, Video Business magazine, where he served as the Reviews Editor for 15 years.