Friedrich Christian Anton "Fritz" Lang (December 5, 1890 – August 2, 1976) was an Austrian-American filmmaker, screenwriter, and occasional film producer and actor. One of the best known émigrés from Germany's school of Expressionism, he was dubbed the "Master of Darkness" by the British Film Institute.
The horror of the faces: That is the overwhelming image that remains from a recent viewing of the restored version of ``M,'' Fritz Lang's famous 1931 film about a child murderer in Germany. In my memory it was a film that centered on the killer, the creepy little Franz Becker, played by Peter Lorre. But Becker has relatively limited screen time, and only one consequential speech--although it's a haunting one. Most of the film is devoted to the search for Becker, by both the police and the underworld.
For fans and scholars of the silent-film era, the search for a copy of the original version of Fritz Lang’s “Metropolis” has become a sort of holy grail. One of the most celebrated movies in cinema history, “Metropolis” had not been viewed at its full length — roughly two and a half hours — since shortly after its premiere in Berlin in 1927, when it was withdrawn from circulation and about an hour of its footage was amputated and presumed destroyed.
Lang’s vision of a technologically advanced, socially stratified urban dystopia, which has influenced contemporary films like “Blade Runner” and “Star Wars,” seems complete and comprehensible. “‘Metropolis’ is the most iconic silent picture of its day, mainly because of the visual ambition and virtuosity of the film itself,” said Noah Isenberg, editor of “Weimar Cinema,” a book about early German films, and a professor of film and literary studies at the New School.
The world´s first big-screen fembot was introduced in Fritz Lang´s 1927 science-fiction masterpiece Metropolis, a film set in a stylized future world of elite technocrats and oppressed machinists. A mad scientist who wants to destroy the machinists invents a beautiful, sadistic female robot that takes the place of a kidnapped political reformer named Maria. The evil Maria robot advocates war and gives a half-speech, half-striptease that whips the machinist masses into a revolutionary fervor. Metropolis´s sexy, dangerous cyborg became the template for countless others, though not for several decades.
Among the most significant films produced in Weimar Germany are Fritz Lang’s Metropolis (1927) and M (1931). Their expressionist style, in which shadows and silhouettes were used to evoke the state of mind of the central characters, accorded with the disillusioned post-war German mood.
The cinematic world was today celebrating the rediscovery of missing scenes from German director Fritz Lang's legendary silent film Metropolis - thought lost for 80 years, until they were found in the archive of a museum in Argentina. Key scenes cut from the science fiction picture - either because they were considered to be too brutal or too long - will now be available for the first time since May 1927, when the original version was last shown in Berlin, where it flopped badly.
Fritz Lang lived his life--and cultivated his legend--with the glinted eyes of a maniac. He was determined to carry his secrets to the grave. The true story of his life, he believed, was nobody's business. It was irrelevant, according to his point of view. Irrelevant to his vast audience of moviegoers, though they might be fascinated by the bigger-than-life figure who directed with such mesmerizing force some fifty motion pictures over the span of forty-five years.
[Lang] was a famous director, his silent films like "Metropolis'' worldwide successes. He lived in a Berlin where the left-wing plays of Bertolt Brecht coexisted with the decadent milieu re-created in movies like "Cabaret.'' By 1931, the Nazi Party was on the march in Germany, although not yet in full control. His own wife would later become a party member.
Foremost among the teenager's icons was Karl Kraus, dubbed "the Pied Piper of Vienna" by author Gina Kaus, for the spell he cast over Vienna's youth and cognoscenti. This satirist, polemicist, social critic, master dramatist, and all-around diatribist ("the scourge of the Viennese conscience," in Kokoschka's words) not only made cabaret appearances but gave public lectures which Lang enthusiastically attended. And for a long time Lang collected the paperback editions of Kraus's scarlet-bound Die Fackel, containing his discourses, of which there were some 922 numbers over thirty-seven years.
Soon after Hitler’s rise to power [Lang] fled to the US. He made 21 features during the next 21 years, working in a variety of genres at every major studio in Hollywood. These films influenced the evolution of 1940s American film noir.
"There can be no understanding between the hand and the brain unless the heart acts as mediator," declares Maria to her underground followers in "Metropolis". When Fritz Lang's apocalyptic silent film premiered in Berlin in 1927, it was the most expensive German film ever made.