Wednesday Flogging a Deceased Equine: Special Back to the Future Yet Again Edition

on October 20, 2010 by Steve Simels

51XERnTAR1L._SL500_AA300_.jpgMy, my. Fabulous news now comes to us via the good folks at Turner Classic Movies and I swear to god this is the last time I'll hock you guys about it. But remember that restoration of Fritz Lang's groundbreaking (but mostly butchered since its original 1927 release) science fiction masterpiece Metropolis I've been carrying on about here since what seems like forever?

Well, it's coming to your orthicon tube, and rather soon. From the official website:

This November, Turner Classic Movies (TCM) will present a groundbreaking achievement in filmmaking and film restoration with the world television premiere of the newly restored version of Fritz Lang’s 1927 science-fiction masterpiece Metropolis. This extraordinary new edition of the film, which had its North American theatrical premiere at the TCM Classic Festival in April, features 25 minutes of previously lost scenes, as well as the original Gottfried Huppertz score. Metropolis is slated to premiere on TCM Sunday, Nov. 7, at 8 p.m. (ET), one week before the release of DVD and Blu-ray Disc™ editions from Kino International. TCM’s presentation will be followed at 11 p.m. (ET) by Metropolis Refound (2010), a one-hour documentary about the discovery of new footage.

As I said, fabulous news -- I saw the restoration on the big screen back in April and it's breathtaking; this was the first time I felt like I'd seen the film that Lang actually made.

Perhaps more importantly, however, the video premiere provides me with an excuse to recycle one of my all-time favorite photo-essays,  for those of you unclear just how deep the influence of Lang's masterpiece has run.

Consider, if you will, this scene from "Beneath the Surface," a fourth season (2001) episode of Stargte SG-1, a series that remains (for my money) the most entertaining sci-fi TV show ever.


As you can see, the office of the alien official who has kidnapped the Stargate team looks suspiciously like the office of Jon Fredersen, the master of Metropolis....


...and note the presence of this iconic skyscraper from Lang's film...

metropolis_skyscrapers.jpg the window behind Stargate star Richard Dean Anderson in a later shot from the episode.


Meanwhile, I seem to be the only person who's ever picked up on it, but another iconic shot from Metropolis -- this overhead view of a gorgeously futuristic Art Deco building, seen in the one of the film's opening montage...


...was reproduced exactly in the inexplicably underrated 1999 Mike Nichols/Garry Shandling sci-fi comedy What Planet Are You From. Unfortunately, there's barely a trace of the film on either Google Images or YouTube so you'll just have to take my word for it.

In any case, you can pre-order the Kino Metropolis DVD over at Amazon here. And that's my last word on the subject. (Said with my fingers crossed behind my back.)

Tags: Metropolis, Fritz Lang, Stargate SG-1

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