Sunday, June 26, 2011


Click Here To watch this Metropolis short while the Blog loads.

The Beautiful Brigitte Helm in 1934 at 28yrs old.

E veryone that writes an old movie Blog like this one eventually arrives at Fritz Lang's German Expressionist production in 1927 of the silent science fiction masterpiece entitled "METROPOLIS".

So much has been written on this subject it's very difficult to find a new angle or point of view. It was this movie that opened my eyes to the "Silents". I have an overwhelming urge to share this revelation and we now arrive at this blog. I am not qualified to analyze all the social implications of this movie and it's shocking view of the future other than to say it moved me at a very deep level.

The accuracy of it's obvious predictions is downright scary. Brigitte Helm's portrayal and transformation of "MARIA" combined with Fritz Lang's vision created one of those rare adventures which add up to much more than the "...sum of it's parts...". Here just below is one of those rare photos of Director Fritz Lang urging Brigitte Helm to become "Maria" and feel the part.....

At the time the Pix above and below were taken Miss Brigitte was just 16yrs. old and her double role as the dual "Marias" was her very first movie role. Amazing as she just sizzled white hot on screen.

Above: The sons of The Managers lusting for Evil Maria!

Click the Pic below to see the beautifully restored version of the original trailer

In my own mind she has become a mysteriously beautiful character. Her success in "Metropolis" was monumental as she transformed from the innocent ideal of an altruistic waif "Maria" into the incredibly cruel, evil robotic and soulless "Maria".

Above: Fritz Lang while building the set

Above: The City of Metropolis

The "Future" that German born Fritz Lang cast on the silver screen in 1927 was one wherein a social crisis was created between "workers" and "owners" that most believed was an inherent trait of "Capitalism". There was no "middle class" in the future . It was the year that Adolph Hitler gave his now infamous speech at the Nuremberg Rally.

Adolph Hitler at the Nuremburg Rally in 1927

Adolph's speech was given little notice in the U.S. press as there was more exciting news on May 21st., 1927....

It was a marvelously exciting time to be alive with the "...War to end all wars..." behind the them. WW I ended in November of 1918 and Sunday Dec. 7th. (WW II) was still twelve years away. Workers had flocked to the cities with the advent of WW I and working conditions were often horrible.

Here is how Fritz Lang presented it.......

Above is the Industrial Machine of the workers and below is how the workers
see "Moloch" the machine that consumes their lives.

Meanwhile the "Good" Maria takes the children of the poor workers to see the fruits of their labor consumed by the "Managers" in the "Eternal Gardens". The "managers" live in luxurious skyscrapers and the workers live and toil underground.

Just above is Freder, son of the founder and builder of the city cavorting in The Eternal Gardens with his mate for the day. Freder, lives a life of luxury provided by the workers as do all the sons of the manager class. Just below Freder sees Maria and falls in love!

Rotwang the evil scientist creates a purely logical and evil robot devoid of empathy and without mercy. He decides to give the robot the visage of Maria and transforms the robot into what looks like Maria. In the two Pix just below on the right is Rotwang the scientist and on the left is Joh, father of Freder.

Rotwang transforms his robot to look like Maria

The robot is given the visage of Maria

She looks like Maria but is actually the evil Robot !

Click the Pic above to see the famous dance scene, where the artificial Maria bewitches the mighty men of Metropolis. This video contains the new found footage from Argentin. The cut with all the eyes was considered a breakthrough in special effects technique.

Click the Grim Reaper Pic just below to see a different trailer for the restored version. (Excellent!)

What happens next is an industrial accident that crashes Moloch the Machine and brings down the whole hierarchy in a vast collapse of the whole structure. Meanwhile Freder has fallen in love with the altruistic and good hearted waif Real Maria.

The city begins to collapse from within and floods the workers quarters as Maria tries to save the children from drowning...

I interrupt the story line here to add this little video that so titillated the public in this offering. It caused a huge uproar to have this sixteen year old girl dancing so erotically as Evil Maria seduces all the sons of The Managers...

(Click Pic to See The Erotic Dance of Evil Maria)

As Evil Maria seduces the sons of the managers with lust and lechery Good Maria is terrified by the crumbling city as thousands are washed away by the flood....

(Good Maria is terrified by the crumbling city)

(Evil Maria convinces the workers to revolt against The Managers!)

(Evil Maria fools the children and floods the workers city)

The evil Robot is destroyed (Above) but wait, the Good Maria also perishes (Below)?

A tremendous story with many plot twists. It has everything an adventure movie could want love, hate, deception, lust, lechery, debauchery, revolution, good and evil, sex and violence, right and wrong. Fritz was able to tap into an underlying current of public dissatisfaction as the ideological battle between Capitalism, Communism and Fascism heated up to a boiling point.

In the beginning Maria worshiped the Babylon created by Capitalism...

(Fritz Lang directing the water scene)

This was the most expensive silent film ever made ($200 million in today's money) and employed thousands of people with a vast array of talents and disciplines all riding on the untested talent of a sixteen year old girl to bring it off, and bring it off she did.....

Here we are 84 years later still reverberating from it's impact and the spectacular performance of Miss Brigitte Helm and the genius of Director fritz Lang.

After retiring and moving to neutral Switzerland just seven years after this film in 1935 she refused to grant any interviews about her film career, she was just 21yrs. old. She married a Doctor of Jewish descent one Hugo von Kuenheim and bore him four children.

The one thing she seemed to actually have trouble with in real life was machines. In particular she was involved in several traffic accidents before leaving Germany and it is said that Adolph Hitler himself intervened on her behalf and had "Manslughter" charges against her for reckless driving dropped.

Miss Brigitte passed away in 1996 at the age of 90. She had a long and very remarkable life. She won't soon be forgotten here at Movie Classics. We are amazed....

Hope you enjoyed our little Blog about Miss Brigitte and her role in Metropolis. Here just below are several directions you can head from here. Have a Brilliant Day !

♡ ♡ Movie Classics ♡ ♡

Click Pic Above for Main Menu


PepitoBCN said...


Anonymous said...

Helm was born in 1906. The film was shot in 1925-7. She was 19-21, not 16.

Manny said...

Most wonderfull blog ever! I completely agree with autor. In my opinion blog deserve to be at the top of google lists.

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We love Vintage Hollywood! The likes of Errol Flynn, Richard Widmark, Cary Grant, Sterling Hayden and those magnificent ladies of yesteryear!
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