Tuesday, March 29, 2011

Coming next: Metropolis (1927)

I'm very excited to be doing music for one of the big iconic silent films: 'Metropolis' (1927), which we'll screen on Monday, April 4 at 7 p.m. at the Palace Theatre in downtown Manchester, N.H.

Not only is it a great film in its own right, especially with the newly rediscovered missing footage, but time has made it even more interesting, I think. Why? Because it now has this added level of richness in that it's a vision of the future from the past.

Also, it's a great film for music, and I'm enjoying the process of putting together material. I plan to go beyond my usual traditional orchestral sound and push the capabilities of the synthesizer, as I did in February with the screening of the 1916 version of '20,000 Leagues Under the Sea.' in Boston.

Here's a press release with full info. Hope to see you at the screening!

Contact Jeff Rapsis • (603) 236-9237 • jeffrapsis@gmail.com

Restored 'Metropolis' presented on big screen at Palace Theatre

Landmark sci-fi movie to be shown with live music on Monday, April 4 in Manchester, N.H.

MANCHESTER, N.H.—A silent movie hailed as the grandfather of all science fiction fantasy films will be screened with live music on Monday, April 4 at the Palace Theatre in Manchester, N.H. The show starts at 7 p.m. and tickets are $8 general admission.

'Metropolis' (1927), regarded as German director Fritz Lang's masterpiece, is set in a futuristic city where a privileged elite lead lives of leisure while the masses toil 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 version of 'Metropolis' to be screened at the Palace is a newly restored print that includes nearly a half-hour of missing footage that was cut just after the film's premiere in 1927. The footage, discovered in 2008 in an archive in Argentina, is taken from a 16mm print of the complete film; it has since been added to the existing 'Metropolis,' allowing plot threads and characters to be developed more fully.

Critics have hailed the newly restored 'Metropolis' as further augmenting the value of an influential piece of cinema that still astonishes audiences with its large scale, powerful visuals, and dramatic symbolism.

"One of the fascinating things about this new 'Metropolis' is that it couldn't be clearer what the restored material is," wrote Los Angeles Times film critic Kenneth Turan in 2010. "The restorers found no less than 96 places where trims had been made, and though some cut just a few seconds, others are as long as seven minutes. Bringing back these scenes restores entire subplots, makes characters more comprehensible and, in general, makes the film's story much easier to follow," Turan wrote.

The film was noteworthy for nearly bankrupting U.F.A., the German studio where Lang made 'Metropolis.' The director labored on the film for more than a year, using more than 36,000 extras.

In terms of story, 'Metropolis' is a futuristic spectacle about class divisions in a glittering high-rise city. The film is an artifact of abstract expressionism; the mammoth sets are populated with archetypes, from industrial overlord Joh Federsen and his mad-scientist henchman Rotwang to the uniformed workers who trudge through the underground boiler rooms.

Caught between the two worlds that Lang labels the Head and the Hand is the overlord's son Freder (Gustav Frohlich). After an encounter with a crusading teacher, Maria (Brigitte Helm), Freder follows her into the catacombs, where he learns that the impoverished workers who have fed his lifestyle are awaiting a prophesied savior.

"The Complete 'Metropolis' is astonishing, a fully realized work of art whose influence on science fiction, set design and symbolism can scarcely be put into words," wrote St. Louis Post-Dispatch Critic Joe Williams in July, 2010.

'Metropolis' will be accompanied by music created live by New Hampshire-based composer Jeff Rapsis, who recently created a score for the original 1916 silent version of '20,000 Leagues Under the Sea' for the annual Boston Science Fiction marathon in February, 2011.

All movies in the Palace Theatre’s silent film series were popular when first released, but are rarely screened today in a way that shows them at their best. They were not made to be shown on television; to revive them, organizers aim to show the films at the Palace as they were intended—in top quality restored prints, on a large screen, with live music, and with a live audience.

Screenings in the Palace Theatre’s silent series take place on Mondays at 7 p.m. ‘Metropolis’ will be shown on Monday, April 4, at 7 p.m. the Palace Theatre, 80 Hanover St., Manchester, N.H. Admission is $8 per person, general admission seating. Tickets available at the door or in advance by calling the Palace Theatre box office, (603) 668-5588 or online at www.palacetheatre.org.

The Palace Theatre’s silent film series is sponsored by HippoPress and Looser Than Loose Vintage Entertainment of Manchester.


“'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

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For more info, contact:
Jeff Rapsis • (603) 236-9237 • jeffrapsis@gmail.com
Images attached.
More high-resolution digital images available upon request.

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