First, the good news: Our friends at the Flying Monkey Moviehouse and Performance Center in Plymouth, N.H. have recently upgraded their film screening system to provide a bigger, clearer, sharper picture.
And now the really good news: The first silent film to be shown with this new system is the legendary sci-fi silent film masterpiece 'Metropolis' (1927), which we're screening on Thursday, April 19 at 6:30 p.m.
It's an incredible movie, and one that must be seen in a theater with an audience and with live music, which I'll attempt to provide. Actually, I've done 'Metropolis' several times before, and it's one of my favorite films to accompany, as the energy and emotion in it are a close match for my scoring approach.
If you're new to silent film, this is a great introduction to the power of this art form, which flourished so briefly. And if you're a fan but you've never seen this, please come and prepare to be astonished. And even if you've seen it many times before, it's worth seeing again and again.
Here's the press release that's been out for awhile now. See you at the theater!
TUESDAY, MARCH 13, 2012 / FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
For more info, contact: Jeff Rapsis • (603) 236-9237 • firstname.lastname@example.org
Flying Monkey to screen restored 'Metropolis' on Thursday, April 19
Landmark sci-fi fantasy silent film to be shown with live music at Plymouth, N.H. moviehouse
PLYMOUTH, N.H.—A silent film hailed as the grandfather of all science fiction fantasy movies will be screened with live music on Thursday, April 19, 2012 at the Flying Monkey Moviehouse and Performance Center in Plymouth, N.H. The show starts at 6:30 p.m. and tickets are $10 general admission.
'Metropolis' (1927), regarded as German director Fritz Lang's masterpiece, is set in a futuristic city where a privileged elite pursue lives of leisure while the masses toil on vast machines and live deep underground. The film, with its visions of futuristic factories and flying cars, set new standards for visual design and inspired generations of dystopian fantasies from Ridley Scott's 'Blade Runner' to Terry Gilliam's 'Brazil.' The story centers on an upper class young man who falls in love with a woman who works with the poor, and encompasses mad scientists, human-like robots, and industrial espionage, all set in a society divided between haves and have-nots.
The version of 'Metropolis' to be screened at the Flying Monkey is a newly restored edition that includes nearly a half-hour of missing footage cut following the film's premiere in 1927. The footage, discovered in 2008 in an archive in Argentina, has since been added to the existing 'Metropolis,' allowing plot threads and characters to be developed more fully.
The restored 'Metropolis,' now 2½ hours in length, will be accompanied by a score created live by New Hampshire-based silent film musician and composer Jeff Rapsis.
When 'Metropolis' was first screened in Berlin, Germany on Jan. 10, 1927, the sci-fi epic ran an estimated 153 minutes. After its premiere engagement, the film's distributors (including Paramount in the U.S.) drastically shortened 'Metropolis' to maximize the film's commercial potential. By the time it debuted in the U.S. later that year, the film ran only about 90 minutes.
Even in its shortened form, 'Metropolis' went on to become one of the cornerstones of science fiction cinema. Due to its enduring popularity, the film has undergone numerous restorations in the intervening decades in attempts to recover Lang's original vision.
In 1984, the film was reissued with additional footage, color tints, and a pop rock score (but with many of its intertitles removed) by music producer Giorgio Moroder. A more archival restoration was completed in 1987, under the direction of Enno Patalas of the Munich Film Archive, in which missing scenes were represented with title cards and still photographs. More recently, a 2001 restoration combined footage from four archives and ran at a triumphant 124 minutes.
It was widely believed that this would be the most complete version of Lang's film that contemporary audiences could ever hope to see. But, in the summer of 2008, the curator of the Buenos Aires Museo del Cine discovered a 16mm dupe negative of 'Metropolis' that was considerably longer than any existing print. It included not merely a few additional snippets, but 25 minutes of "lost" footage, about a fifth of the film, that had not been seen since its Berlin debut.
The discovery of such a significant amount of material called for yet another restoration, which debuted in 2010 to widespread acclaim. It's this fully restored version that will be screened at the Flying Monkey.
"We felt spring was a great time to screen the restored 'Metropolis,' as it's a film all about the future and things to come," said Jeff Rapsis, who provides live musical accompaniment to silent film screenings throughout New England. "'Metropolis' stands as an stunning example of the power of silent film to tell a compelling story without words, and reach across the generations to touch movie-goers from the real future that came to pass, which means us."
To accompany a silent film, Rapsis uses a digital synthesizer to recreate the texture of the full orchestra. The score is created live in real time as the movie is screened. Rather than focus exclusively on authentic music of the period, Rapsis creates new music for silent films that draws from movie scoring techniques that today's audiences expect from cinema.
"Silent film is a timeless art form that still has a unique emotional power to move audiences, as the recent success of 'The Artist' has shown," Rapsis said. "With original silent films, which were made in another era, my goal is to help them come to life by using music to bridge the gap between the film and today's audiences. If you can show them as they were originally intended—on the big screen, in a restored print, with live music and an audience—they create the same kind of excitement that made people first fall in love with the movies."
The restored 'Metropolis' will be shown on Thursday, April 19 at 6:30 p.m. at the Flying Monkey Moviehouse and Performance Center, 39 South Main St., Plymouth, N.H. General admission tickets are $10 per person. For more information, call (603) 536-2551 or visit www.flyingmonkeynh.com. For more information on the music, visit www.jeffrapsis.com.
CRITIC COMMENTS on ‘METROPOLIS’
“'Metropolis' does what many great films do, creating a time, place and characters so striking that they become part of our arsenal of images for imagining the world.”
—Roger Ebert, 2010, The Chicago Sun-Times
“If it comes anywhere near your town, go see it and thank the movie Gods that it even exists. There’s no star rating high enough.”
—Brian Tallerico, Movieretriever.com