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Michael Lee's Mathematics and Physics

Metropolis (1927)

The mediator between the brain and the hand must be the heart!


 An early scene of Fritz Lang's futuristic film Metropolis (1927). Maria, the daughter of a working class foreman, ascends with her school children from the depths of the workers' city built deep down below the surface and upon reaching the gardens, accessible only to the wealthy, she says: "Look children, these are your brothers and sisters!" They were quickly ushered away but Freder, the son of the Master of Metropolis, Joh Fredersen, instantly falls in love with her and follows Maria deep into the depths and discovers the inhumane conditions the workers had to endure and suffer from to feed their families.  Freder approaches his father to enquire why we treat the workers so badly only to be told, "they belong in the depths!"  Freder then warns him, "I see father how the workers fit into your plans, but how precisely do you fit into theirs?"  The film is famous for its fantastic special effects of the early twentieth century and the real stars are the many ordinary people (i.e. the workers) required during its filming and Lang's keen sense of choreographing them together.



The most intense and dramatic scenes of the film. An evil robot, disguised as Maria, deceives the workers into attacking the machines not knowing doing so will flood their city deep below the surface.  Look at the children walking in cold knee deep water and those boys climbing on the outside of the escape stairway;  it would be "unfilmable" nowadays for safety reasons.  It contains many clips of the film that went missing when, against Lang's wishes, the film was heavily edited making it hard to follow and understand.



The most frightening piece of the film. The workers, upon being mislead by the robot, destroy the machines only to discover they flooded their city. Upon believing their children to be dead, they storm the city at the surface, where all the wealthy live, to hunt down the "witch" (the robot) made to look like Maria.


The conclusion of the film whereupon the workers and the wealthy reconcile and unite.