The Complete Metropolis
disastrous flood. Its influence is clear in a line of works running from Frankenstein down through Stanley Kubrick, Blade Runner, The Fifth Element, and perhaps even Avatar.
That influence is all the more remarkable since few people have ever seen Metropolis in anything like its intended form. Shortly after its premiere in Berlin the 160-minute film was cut--at first for American distribution, but European theaters went along, and the original film disappeared. More cuts followed, and Lang once dourly asked an interviewer why there was so much interest in a film that no longer existed. By the time of Giorgio Moroder's colorized rock-music version of 1984, Metropolis was down to 80 minutes.
Restoration projects in 1986 and 2002 recovered about twenty minutes of missing footage, but the rest was widely supposed to be lost forever--until the 2008 discovery of a scratched, decayed sixteen-millimeter copy of the original film in a cinema museum in Argentina. The copy was beyond even digital repair, but the rediscovered sections, interpolated into the 2002 version and projected at a different size on the screen and with all their streaks and flaws left intact, brought Metropolis back to 153 minutes. Only one scene, described in an intertitle panel, is still missing.