Friday, December 23, 2011

'Metropolis' on Saturday, Dec. 31 in Concord, N.H.

A few further thoughts on 'Metropolis' (1927) as we get closer to the screening, which will take place on Saturday, Dec. 31 (New Year's Eve!) at 7 p.m. in Concord, N.H. (A lot more basic info is found further down in this blog.)

• First, thanks very much to New Hampshire Public Radio and the crew at 'Word of Mouth' for the chance to talk about 'Metropolis' and silent film music. Host Virginia Prescott and several very nice behind-the-scenes people were most welcoming, and everyone seemed pleased with the segment, which featured a few musical sequences played live.

The piece aired this past Wednesday, Dec. 21, but I understand will be re-broadcast as part of a show on Saturday, Dec. 24 at noon. However, this being the age of everything-when-you-want-it, you can also hear it right now.

I was especially glad for the chance to play some of my futuristic Broadway show music, which will be used in 'Metropolis' to accompany the "Bad Maria" in her wild nightclub act. It's a tune that I've found to be catchy enough to actually blot out Christmas carols, which is no small feat this time of year.

• Next, if you're interested in attending, please get in touch with Red River Theatres early and reserve your tickets. We're showing 'Metropolis' in the theater's screening room, which has a limit of only about 60 seats, so if you really do want to attend, it's worth reserving the tickets in advance. Also, if the screening books up early, there's a chance we might get to do a repeat, and the sooner we know that, the better.

• Behind the scenes: Below is an interesting production still from 'Metropolis' showing Brigette Helm wearing the "machine man" costume during a break in filming. At least I think that's Helm, if you can believe, but to my eye it doesn't look very much like her. Anyway: I've heard stories about how Lang would demand a lot from his performers, and this shows something of the reality of what that meant. Whoever it is in the costume, the woman looks like nothing so much as a prize-fighter between rounds of a tough bout. And if it is Helm, my regard for her contribution to 'Metropolis' film goes up another notch, because the robot costume completely conceals whoever is wearing it, so it could have been anyone under there. And yet it was her!

• Finally, the more I look at 'Metropolis,' the more impressed I am with how it's all put together, especially with the missing 25 minutes of footage discovered in 2008. Yes, the visual design is hard to miss. But what's equally amazing, I think, is how director Fritz Lang created a multi-layered story that leads to an exciting and dramatic multi-stage climax—one that really moves and is full of powerful visuals in its own right. As a result, it's a very satisfying film. Hope you can join us!

P.S. And if seeing 'Metropolis' isn't enough, the evening also includes a champagne toast to welcome in 2012!

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