To 1927 when Fritz Lang gave the world the sci-fi classic Metropolis.
This silent film has it all - you've got man vs. machine, a mad scientist, fun doppelganger/frankensteiny stuff, some prince & the pauper, a touch o' romance, hoards of extra's, anti-capitalist leanings, fab sets & some wonderfully over-the-top acting.....
But for the last 80 years or so, this grand flick has been incomplete. For various reasons (including shortening for the American audience), parts of the movie were cut & presumed lost.
In 2008 a copy of the original was found in Argentina. Some bits were too far gone, but an extra 25 minutes were salvaged. That may not sound like much, but it includes scenes which expand upon a few characters & really pull the film together.
|this image borrowed from Tampa Theatre facebook photo album|
Last Sunday, I settled into my favorite time machine, the Tampa Theatre. I've raved about this restored 1926 movie palace before. It is truly magnificent. Some of you know I'm an old-movie nut and this is the perfect place to enjoy those classic flicks the way they were intended.
One of these days I need to get around to taking their backstage tour. The palace itself is overflowing with beauties ...
But the true prize, the heart of the time machine, is The Mighty Wurlitzer theatre organ.
When Metropolis first played in Germany, the film traveled with a 60 piece orchestra. With the Wurlitzer in your theatre only 1 organist was needed. For many years the magnificent Rosa Rio accompanied the silent movies at Tampa Theatre, her performances activating the time machine and our imaginations.
Last weekend Steven Ball took to the stage & gave a marvelous performance. (This is the part where I apologize for the picture quality. I was using my little digital tourister without a flash)
Once the lights dim & the curtain opens, the organ begins to sink into the stage.
And then the fun begins
During intermission, I decided to climb up to the balcony
Never know who you'll run into up there
Let's check out the concession stand
...and then back to the 21st century
Well, hey, thanks for coming along for the ride. Love old movies? Be sure to catch this restored Metropolis.(It is available on DVD, by the way). If you are lucky enough to have one of these old Movie Palaces near you: What are you waiting for? Get on over there & catch a flick. And if you ever find yourself in Tampa, drop me a note. Maybe I can meet you at the movies!
Want to know more about Metropolis? Click Here or toss it into Google. A log of cool blogs, like Classic Film & TV Cafe have been writing about the film's history &restoration.