Monday, 15 January 2018

BBC One Last Night / The Queen Opens Up On How Wearing The Crown Could Break Her Neck

BBC One to tell the story of the symbols of the Coronation in a special new film announced as part of the Royal Collection Season
In her own words The Queen will bring to life the enduring symbolic importance of the Coronation ceremonies for modern audiences to enjoy
Charlotte Moore, BBC Director of Content
Date: 03.01.2018     Last updated: 03.01.2018 at 12.47

As part of the Royal Collection Season across BBC television and radio, BBC One today announced The Coronation, an hour-long film revealing to new generations the compelling story of the Crown Jewels and the ancient ceremony for which they are used.
As part of the film, to mark the 65th anniversary of Her Majesty The Queen's Coronation, The Queen shares memories of the ceremony as well as that of her father, King George VI, in 1937. The Crown Jewels, which form part of the Royal Collection, consist of 140 items and contain 23,000 precious stones. These sacred objects form the most complete collection of royal regalia in the world.

The Royal Collection Season, a major partnership between the BBC and Royal Collection Trust, reveals the fascinating history of the Royal Collection - one of the largest and most important art collections in the world - bringing both the masterpieces and some of the lesser-known works of art, and the stories behind them, to audiences across Britain.

Exploring the role and symbolic meaning of the Crown Jewels in the centuries-old coronation ceremony, The Coronation shows these objects of astonishing beauty in new high-resolution footage. The film tells the extraordinary story of St Edward’s Crown, which was destroyed after the English Civil War and remade for the Coronation of Charles II in 1661. It has only been worn by Her Majesty once, at the moment she was crowned.

On 2 June 1953, on one of the coldest June days of the century and after 16 months of planning, The Queen set out from Buckingham Palace to be crowned at Westminster Abbey, watched by millions of people throughout the world. A ceremony dating back more than a thousand years was to mark the dawn of a new Elizabethan age.

Viewing both private and official film footage, The Queen recalls the day when the weight of both St Edward’s Crown and the hopes and expectations of a country recovering from war were on her shoulders, as the nation looked to their 27 year-old Queen to lead them into a new era.

In the film, The Queen says: “I've seen one Coronation, and been the recipient in the other, which is pretty remarkable.”

For audiences unfamiliar with the story of the Crown Jewels and the regalia, the film explains their contemporary relevance to the UK as a nation and to the enduring purpose and the work of monarchy. They are symbols of the relationship between the Sovereign and the people, and the duties and responsibilities of leadership.

The film also features eyewitness accounts of those who participated in the 1953 Coronation, including a maid of honour who nearly fainted in the Abbey, and a 12 year-old choirboy who was left to sing solo when his overwhelmed colleagues lost their voices.

Other programmes in the Season include:

Art, Passion & Power: The Story of the Royal Collection on BBC Four, a four-part series in which Andrew Graham-Dixon reveals some of the most spectacular works of art in the Royal Collection.
Charles I's Treasures Reunited on BBC Two, in which Brenda Emmanus explores the Royal Academy’s landmark exhibition Charles I: King And Collector, organised in partnership with Royal Collection Trust.
A concert recorded in the Grand Reception Room at Windsor Castle, presented by Lucie Skeaping and including performances on historic instruments from the Royal Collection, broadcast on The Early Music Programme on BBC Radio 3.
Stories From The Royal Collection on BBC Radio 4, in which Dr Amanda Foreman discovers the captivating stories behind works of art in the Royal Collection through documentary material from the Royal Archives.
Charlotte Moore, BBC Director of Content, says: “It is a real honour to have Her Majesty The Queen revealing her intimate knowledge of the Crown Jewels, and fond childhood memories from when her father was crowned King George VI, in this very special film for BBC One. In her own words, The Queen will bring to life the enduring symbolic importance of the Coronation ceremonies for modern audiences to enjoy.”

Coronation expert and key contributor Alastair Bruce says: “The Crown Jewels include The Regalia, which are used at a coronation, when the monarch is invested with the best known, if least understood, symbols of this kingdom. Post boxes, Police helmets, Income Tax Returns and almost every visual expression of the United Kingdom displays a Crown and Orb.

"The meaning of each of the key objects has evolved from emblems of authority that date way back before the Saxons arrived. Yet there is an enduring relevance to modern leadership wrapped into each symbol that express values of humility, duty and service, while representing total power. Discovering their meaning helps to define what the Sovereign is to the Crown and how that Crown is the property of us all, in the constitutional function of Monarchy.”

The Coronation is made by Bafta and Emmy Award-winning Atlantic Productions. It is a co-production with Smithsonian Channel and ABC Television and distributed by FremantleMedia International. In a global event, it will be broadcast across the United States and Australia by its broadcast partners.

Anthony Geffen, CEO of Atlantic Productions, says: “The Coronation of Queen Elizabeth II was an international and momentous event, which took 16 months of preparation and was watched by millions across the globe for the first time in history. Our project marks another first - Her Majesty The Queen's own recollections of the time. We are honoured to be able to create this lasting historical document and hugely appreciative of the collaboration with The Royal Household and our broadcast partners.”

David Royle, Executive Vice President of Programming and Production for Smithsonian Channel, says: “Americans are fascinated by the Royal Family and have great admiration for The Queen. When the Coronation was broadcast in the U.S. in 1953, it was watched by an immense audience. At Smithsonian Channel, we take great pride in bringing definitive accounts of major events to our viewers, and this remarkably intimate portrait of the Coronation is sure to bring new levels of interest in America.”

Michael Carrington, Acting Head of Television, ABC, says: “The ABC are delighted to be the broadcast partner for this very special, historical event. The crowning of Queen Elizabeth II was a defining moment in the history of television, and the modern world, and we are excited to bring the rituals and pageantry of her Coronation to life for our ABC audiences in 2018.”

Angela Neillis, Director of Non-Scripted, UK, EMEA and Asia Pacific, FremantleMedia International, says: “Queen Elizabeth II’s Coronation is a landmark television event and we are thrilled to be working with Atlantic Productions to bring their unique documentary film to international buyers. Her Majesty The Queen is a much loved and respected global figure and the Royal Family continues to fascinate audiences across the world.”

The Coronation (1x60) was commissioned by Charlotte Moore, Director of Content and Tom McDonald, Head of Commissioning, Natural History and Specialist Factual. The BBC Commissioning Editor is Simon Young. The Executive Producer for Atlantic Productions is Anthony Geffen and Producer/Director is Harvey Lilley. The programme consultant is Alastair Bruce.

It took 22 years for the BBC to do the near-impossible and persuade the Queen to sit for an interview
Alexandra Ma
13 Jan 2018

The BBC is airing a documentary about the Queen’s coronation 65 years ago.
It features a rare on-camera, sit-down conversation with the Queen.
It took the film’s producers 22 years to get her to do it.

They won over palace gatekeepers with a track-record of thorough, well-reported documentaries, they told Business Insider.
This weekend the BBC is broadcasting a journalistic rarity: A full, sit-down conversation with Queen Elizabeth II.

The project, a retrospective on her coronation ceremony in 1953, was 22 years in the making, and a media coup given the Queen’s historic reluctance to engage directly with the press in any way.

Her Majesty has granted behind-the-scenes access to royal life before. She also gives occasional televised speeches. But “The Coronation,” which airs on BBC1 at 8 p.m. on Sunday, will be one of her first televised exchanges with a journalist.

It also shows her interacting with various crowns involved in the ceremony, and giving a vivid description of the experience of being installed as ruler of huge swathes of the world (when she took the throne large parts of Africa, the Middle East, and the Caribbean were still British colonies).

Queen examines the Crown
For decades an interview has been a boundary she and Buckingham Palace officials were unwilling to cross and, indeed, the BBC and presenter Alastair Bruce prefer to characterise the encounter in “The Coronation” as a conversation. He was not allowed to ask her questions, but he did at least ask one, according to the Radio Times.

Nevertheless, it is a huge novelty and only came about after a respected team of experts, commissioned by the BBC, convinced Her Majesty.

In an interview with Business Insider, producer Anthony Geffen said securing access to the Queen for himself and Bruce was a 22-year enterprise.

It eventually came off because they impressed the palace with the impressive track record of Geffen’s company, Atlantic Productions, and the personal expertise of presenter and royal expert Alastair Bruce.

The occasion is the 65th anniversary of her coronation. The discussion sees the Queen’s reflecting on what it was like to wear her coronation crown, which weighs almost 5 pounds, and her uncomfortable journey to Westminster Abbey 65 years ago.

Teaser footage released ahead of the broadcast shows the Queen discussing the artefact, which she recalled being heavy enough to break her neck.

Geffen told Business Insider: “Alastair Bruce and I started trying to get permission to do this project 22 years ago, and it’s taken a long period of time for it to happen.

“In that time, things have changed. There’s my track record as a filmmaker and Atlantic’s track record.”

Geffen’s past works include documentaries with big names like David Attenborough, Judi Dench, and a major series on the British Parliament, “Inside the Commons,” which he said particularly impressed the palace.

He continued: “We’ve been inside the House of Commons, which the palace had seen, and they were impressed by how the series managed to balance out the political systems in place there.”

“Alastair Bruce also became a recognised royal correspondent and expert on the Coronation and the royal family.”

The Coronation

This meant that Buckingham Palace felt comfortable enough to agree to the filming, although it came with certain expectations and etiquette.

Discussing the exchange on BBC Radio 4 Friday morning, Bruce termed the exchange a “conversation,” and emphasised its difference from normal media interviews, often characterised by direct questioning.

He said: “You pose a point and then the Queen sometimes responds, and often conversation follows from there. But posing direct questions was not on the cards. This was a conversation with the Queen.”

Speaking to BI, Geffen contrasted their heavyweight work with other media coverage of the royals, which “on the whole has been about what they’ve been wearing. This is very different. This is about the meaning of monarchy.”

Of the film itself, Geffen said: “You can really see the Queen in a different light. You finally hear from the one person who can tell us about that [the coronation].”

Bruce, who speaks to the Queen in the documentary, added that the making of the documentary was the first time the Queen had touched her coronation crown in 65 years.

He said: “She may have seen it, but she hasn’t touched it since. It was very moving to see her lean forward to check the weight of it.”

Recalling what it was like to wear the crown at her coronation in the film, the Queen says: “You can’t look down to read the speech… Because if you did, your neck would break.”

And on her journey on the golden carriage that took her from Buckingham Palace to Westminster Abbey? “Horrible.”

The documentary also features eyewitness accounts of people who were part of the coronation, such as a maid of honour who almost fainted in the abbey, and a choirboy who had to sing solo when his fellow choristers lost their voices, the BBC said.

How comfortable is the queen's carriage? - The Coronation - BBC One

Saturday, 13 January 2018

Tweedland will visit some tailoring enterprises and projects connected with ‘tweed’ Today BOOKSTER

“Create your individual custom tailored mens garments online or contact us for personal assistance.
We offer a wide choice of British Tweeds, Suitings and Cotton Cloths.  Bespoke Styling and Sizing Options offered to suit your tastes and requirements. Ready to Wear also available for Men and Women.”


"Savile Row in London is considered to be synonymous with the finest handcrafted British tailoring but here in Yorkshire there is also a long established history.

Bookster is based in Leeds, a city which was considered to be at the forefront of the cloth-making industrial revolution; a city said to have been built on wool.

Our company was established in 2007 but our experience in premium tailoring goes much further back. In fact, our combined experience in highly skilled tailoring is over 125 years.

We have built up a strong reputation for producing high quality Tweed clothing. Our Tweed suits and Tweed jackets are extremely popular and are considered to be best-in-class by our customers. At Bookster we are truly committed to our craft. British style is timeless so we stick closely to tradition whilst allowing our clothing to be personalised to suit your unique taste. We think rural heritage of Britain is something to be celebrated and we help keep it alive in our clothing.

We don’t compromise on quality. Everything we make must absolutely be completed to the highest standards every time.

The combination of using only the finest cloths and skilled tailoring techniques, ensures comfort, quality and fit. You can be confident that every item you order from us is an investment.

At Bookster we are proud of our tailoring heritage. We are passionate about traditional British style but we also keep up to date with the newest fashions and trends. This enables us to create both classic and contemporary clothing in styles that our customers want to wear. Whether you are looking for a one off outfit or a whole new wardrobe we’ll work with you to design and make truly elegant, tailored clothing."

Bookster was established by Peter and Michelle King in Herefordshire in 2007 and was borne out of selling vintage clothing in the 1970s which, over time, became renowned for specialising in Tweed.

This specialisation was due to a continued frustration that tweed clothing was only available in a limited number of small sizes. With a growing customer base of demand for Tweed garments (in a variety of shapes and sizes) they decided that the best way to serve their clients was to actually start making Tweed jackets in custom sizes.

Thus Bookster Tailoring was established to introduce The Bookster Original made to order Tweed Jacket. Popularity for the product rapidly grew and soon demand had seen the product range widen significantly, whilst maintaining the Bookster Tweed Jacket as its core focus.

In 2014 Bookster Tailoring was acquired by new owners, with a rich tailoring heritage stretching back over 100 years, and subsequently the company’s headquarters moving to Leeds, a famous heartland for tailoring and cloth production.

The acquisition has only strengthened Bookster’s client offering in terms of product range, customisation options, selection of cloth, fit, tailoring quality and customer service. Today Bookster, still specialising in Tweed, has a customer base of satisfied clients who appreciate the quintessentially British style of a Bookster garment, its’ premium quality and perfect fit.


Our mission is to help our clients embrace British tailoring style to create unique clothing of timeless elegance.


We want to become the world’s leading online tailoring service specialising in British cloths and styles.


Be a pleasure to work with - Customers like you are at the heart of what we do and our future relies on your continued business. Our team of friendly, knowledgeable staff are always on hand to talk you through the choices. We can advise on every aspect of the style and cloth. You can even meet with us in Leeds or London for a full fitting and consultation. We want to make custom made clothing as easy and pleasurable as possible for you to order.

Be inspiring - We share your passion for clothing and can help you embrace your creativity. Our comprehensive choice of cloths, styles and cuts allow you to create your own style and express your personality. We constantly review our product range and continue to source the finest fabrics from around the world. We can even help you design your own cloth so your clothing can truly be unique.

Be excellent - To become the world’s leading online tailor, we have to continually build on our foundation of quality products and service excellence. We only use the finest fabrics and our product quality is guaranteed. We strive to maintain the same level of excellence throughout every area of our business.

Be exclusive - Bookster are often considered best in class when it comes to Tweed tailoring. We balance premium quality with value for money. Our prices may not be the lowest, but the quality, variety and experience we provide, combined with the customisation options we offer, make our clothing the best value. We understand the demands of the modern day and have established an online ordering system that does not compromise traditional tailoring heritage. The ability to order high quality, custom made garments and suits through our website sets us apart from the industry.

Be adventurous - We are not scared to push the boundaries and we encourage our customers to embrace their adventurous side letting their clothing reflect their personality.

Thursday, 11 January 2018

Style, Identity and Responsibility / The Dandy.

In the last issue of DOZE I published an article with the title Estilo, Identidade e Responsabilidade (Style, Identity and Responsibility) directed towards the dangers and perils for the soul and in real life, of the dandyish path and philosophy of life.

Two paths and choices totally opposite: The Dandy (exclusively concerned with himself) and The Gentleman (putting his cultivated talents and virtues at the service of the others).
JEEVES / António Sérgio Rosa de Carvalho / Architectural Historian.

Monday, 8 January 2018

METROPOLIS by Fritz Lang / VIDEO: Metropolis_special effects

In the futuristic year of 2026, in the city of Metropolis, wealthy industrialists reign from high-rise towers, while underground-dwelling workers toil to operate the underground machines that power the city. Joh Fredersen is the city's master. His son Freder idles away his time in a pleasure garden, but is interrupted by the arrival of a young woman named Maria, who has brought a group of workers' children to witness the lifestyle of the rich. Maria and the children are ushered away, but Freder, fascinated, goes to the machine rooms to find her. Witnessing the explosion of a huge machine that kills and injures several workers, he also has a hallucination. The machine is Moloch and the workers are being fed, some naked, into the flames within Moloch. After the hallucination ends and he sees the dead workers being carried away on stretchers, he hurries to tell Fredersen about the accident. Grot, foreman of the Heart Machine, brings to Fredersen secret maps found on the dead workers. Fredersen, upset with his assistant, Josaphat, that he was informed about the explosion and plans from Freder and Grot and not from Josaphat, fires him. Freder secretly rebels against Fredersen by deciding to help the workers, after seeing his father's cold indifference towards the harsh conditions they face.

Fredersen takes the maps to the inventor Rotwang to learn their meaning. Rotwang had been in love with a woman named Hel, who left him to marry Fredersen and later died giving birth to Freder. Rotwang shows Fredersen a robot he has built to "resurrect" Hel. The maps show a network of catacombs beneath Metropolis, and the two men go to investigate. They eavesdrop on a gathering of workers, including Freder. Maria addresses them, prophesying the arrival of a mediator who can bring the working and ruling classes together. Freder believes that he could fill the role and declares his love for Maria. Fredersen orders Rotwang to give Maria's likeness to the robot so that it can ruin her reputation among the workers to prevent any rebellion. Fredersen is unaware that Rotwang plans to use the robot to kill Freder and take over Metropolis. Rotwang kidnaps Maria, transfers her likeness to the robot and sends her to Fredersen. Freder finds the two embracing and, believing it is the real Maria, falls into a prolonged delirium. Intercut with his hallucinations, the false Maria unleashes chaos throughout Metropolis, driving men to murder and stirring dissent amongst the workers.

Freder recovers and returns to the catacombs. Finding the false Maria urging the workers to rise up and destroy the machines, Freder accuses her of not being the real Maria. The workers follow the false Maria from their city to the machine rooms, leaving their children behind. They destroy the Heart Machine, which causes the workers' city below to flood. The real Maria, having escaped from Rotwang's house, rescues the children with the help of Freder. Grot berates the celebrating workers for abandoning their children in the flooded city. Believing their children to be dead, the hysterical workers capture the false Maria and burn her at the stake. A horrified Freder watches, not understanding the deception until the fire reveals her to be a robot. Rotwang is delusional, seeing the real Maria as his lost Hel, and he chases her to the roof of the cathedral, pursued by Freder. The two men fight as Fredersen and the workers watch from the street. Rotwang falls to his death. Freder fulfills his role as mediator by linking the hands of Fredersen and Grot to bring them together.

Metropolis is a 1927 German expressionist epic science-fiction drama film directed by Fritz Lang. Scripted by Thea von Harbou, with collaboration from Lang himself,it starred Gustav Fröhlich, Brigitte Helm, Alfred Abel and Rudolf Klein-Rogge. Erich Pommer produced it in the Babelsberg Studios for Universum Film A.G. The silent film is regarded as a pioneering work of the science-fiction genre in movies, being among the first feature-length movies of the genre.

Made in Germany during the Weimar Period, Metropolis is set in a futuristic urban dystopia and follows the attempts of Freder, the wealthy son of the city's ruler, and Maria, a poor worker, to overcome the vast gulf separating the classes of their city. Filming took place in 1925 at a cost of approximately five million Reichsmarks. The art direction draws influence from Bauhaus, Cubist and Futurist design.

Metropolis was met with a mixed reception upon release. Critics found it pictorially beautiful and lauded its complex special effects, but accused its story of naiveté. The film's extensive running time also came in for criticism, as well as its alleged Communist message.[8] Metropolis was cut substantially after its German premiere, removing a large portion of Lang's original footage.

Numerous attempts have been made to restore the film since the 1970s. Music producer Giorgio Moroder released a truncated version with a soundtrack by rock artists such as Freddie Mercury, Loverboy and Adam Ant in 1984. A new reconstruction of Metropolis was shown at the Berlin Film Festival in 2001, and the film was inscribed on UNESCO's Memory of the World Register in the same year, the first film thus distinguished. In 2008 a damaged print of Lang's original cut of the film was found in a museum in Argentina. After a long restoration process, the film was 95% restored and shown on large screens in Berlin and Frankfurt simultaneously on 12 February 2010.

Metropolis features a range of elaborate special effects and set designs, ranging from a huge gothic cathedral to a futuristic cityscape. In an interview, Fritz Lang reported that "the film was born from my first sight of the skyscrapers in New York in October 1924". He had visited New York for the first time and remarked "I looked into the streets – the glaring lights and the tall buildings – and there I conceived Metropolis." Describing his first impressions of the city, Lang said that "the buildings seemed to be a vertical sail, scintillating and very light, a luxurious backdrop, suspended in the dark sky to dazzle, distract and hypnotize". He added "The sight of Neuyork  alone should be enough to turn this beacon of beauty into the center of a film..."

The appearance of the city in Metropolis is strongly informed by the Art Deco movement; however it also incorporates elements from other traditions. Ingeborg Hoesterey described the architecture featured in Metropolis as eclectic, writing how its locales represent both "functionalist modernism [and] art deco" whilst also featuring "the scientist’s archaic little house with its high-powered laboratory, the catacombs [and] the Gothic cathedral". The film’s use of art deco architecture was highly influential, and has been reported to have contributed to the style’s subsequent popularity in Europe and America.

The film drew heavily on biblical sources for several of its key set-pieces. During her first talk to the workers, Maria uses the story of the Tower of Babel to highlight the discord between the intellectuals and the workers. Additionally, a delusional Freder imagines the false-Maria as the Whore of Babylon, riding on the back of a many-headed dragon.

The name of the Yoshiwara club alludes to the famous red-light district of Tokyo.

Much of the plot line of Metropolis stems from the First World War and the culture of the Weimar Republic in Germany. Lang explores the themes of industrialization and mass production in his film; two developments that played a large role in the war. Other post-World War I themes that Lang includes in Metropolis include the Weimar view of American modernity, fascism, and communism.

The screenplay of Metropolis was written by Thea von Harbou, a popular writer in Weimar Germany, jointly with Lang, her then-husband. The film's plot originated from a novel of the same title written by Harbou for the sole purpose of being made into a film. The novel in turn drew inspiration from H. G. Wells, Mary Shelley and Villiers de l'Isle-Adam's works and other German dramas. The novel featured strongly in the film's marketing campaign, and was serialized in the journal Illustriertes Blatt in the run-up to its release. Harbou and Lang collaborated on the screenplay derived from the novel, and several plot points and thematic elements – including most of the references to magic and occultism present in the novel – were dropped. The screenplay itself went through many re-writes, and at one point featured an ending where Freder would have flown to the stars; this plot element later became the basis for Lang's Woman in the Moon.

The time setting of Metropolis is open to interpretation. The 2010 re-release and reconstruction, which incorporated the original title cards written by Thea von Harbou, do not specify a year. Prior to the reconstruction, Lotte Eisner and Paul M. Jensen placed the events happening around the year 2000. Giorgio Moroder’s re-scored version included a title card placing the film in 2026, while Paramount’s original US release stated that the film takes place in the year 3000.

Metropolis began principal photography on 22 May 1925 with an initial budget of 1.5 million reichsmarks. Lang cast two unknowns with little film experience in the lead roles. Gustav Fröhlich (Freder) had worked in vaudeville and was originally employed as an extra on Metropolis before Thea von Harbou recommended him to Lang. Brigitte Helm (Maria) had been given a screen test by Lang after he met her on the set of Die Nibelungen, but would make her feature film debut with Metropolis. In the role of Joh Fredersen, Lang cast Alfred Abel, a noted stage and screen actor whom he had worked with on Dr. Mabuse the Gambler. Lang also cast his frequent collaborator Rudolph Klein-Rogge in the role of Rotwang. This was Klein-Rogge's fourth film with Lang, after Destiny, Dr. Mabuse the Gambler, and Die Nibelungen.

Shooting of the film was a draining experience for the actors involved due to the demands that Lang placed on them. For the scene where the worker's city was flooded, Helm and 500 children from the poorest districts of Berlin had to work for 14 days in a pool of water that Lang intentionally kept at a low temperature. Lang would frequently demand numerous re-takes, and took two days to shoot a simple scene where Freder collapses at Maria's feet; by the time Lang was satisfied with the footage he had shot, actor Gustav Fröhlich found he could barely stand. Other anecdotes involve Lang's insistence on using real fire for the climactic scene where the false Maria is burnt at the stake (which resulted in Helm's dress catching fire), and his ordering extras to throw themselves towards powerful jets of water when filming the flooding of the worker's city. UFA invited several trade journal representatives and several film critics to see the film's shooting as parts of its promotion campaign.

Helm recalled her experiences of shooting the film in a contemporary interview, saying that "the night shots lasted three weeks, and even if they did lead to the greatest dramatic moments – even if we did follow Fritz Lang’s directions as though in a trance, enthusiastic and enraptured at the same time – I can’t forget the incredible strain that they put us under. The work wasn’t easy, and the authenticity in the portrayal ended up testing our nerves now and then. For instance, it wasn’t fun at all when Grot drags me by the hair, to have me burned at the stake. Once I even fainted: during the transformation scene, Maria, as the android, is clamped in a kind of wooden armament, and because the shot took so long, I didn’t get enough air."

Shooting lasted over a year, and was finally completed on 30 October 1926. By the time shooting finished, the film's budget leapt to 5.1 million reichsmarks.

Special effects
The effects expert Eugen Schüfftan created pioneering visual effects for Metropolis. Among the effects used are miniatures of the city, a camera on a swing, and most notably, the Schüfftan process, in which mirrors are used to create the illusion that actors are occupying miniature sets. This new technique was seen again just two years later in Alfred Hitchcock's film Blackmail (1929).

The Maschinenmensch – the robot built by Rotwang to resurrect his lost love Hel – was created by sculptor Walter Schulze-Mittendorff. A whole-body plaster cast was taken of actress Brigitte Helm, and the costume was then constructed around it. A chance discovery of a sample of "plastic wood" (a pliable substance designed as wood-filler) allowed Schulze-Mittendorff to build a costume that would both appear metallic and allow a small amount of free movement. Helm sustained cuts and bruises while in character as the robot, as the costume was rigid and uncomfortable.

 September 12, 2012 by tanineallison
The Magic of METROPOLIS (Fritz Lang, Germany, 1927)

 Made at the height of the German Expressionist movement in the Weimar Republic, Metropolis almost bankrupted German studio UFA, costing more than 500,000 Reichsmarks (at least $1 million in 1927).  But as a result, Metropolis is one of the most spectacular and technically ground-breaking movies of all time.  Set in the far future (the year 2000!), the film imagines a massive, industrially driven city, split between the privileged industry leaders and their sons who live lives of leisure in pleasure gardens and sports stadia, and the oppressed proletariat, who live underground and are treated no better than lobotomized robots. In addition to visualizing such a city–inspired in part by director Fritz Lang’s first visit to New York City–Lang also imagined an actual robot, who through some crypto-science and movie magic is transformed into a woman indistinguishable from her human model (except for being oversexed–watch out for her Art Deco striptease scene!).  George Lucas has admitted that C3PO in Star Wars was directly inspired by Lang’s character.

Brigette Helm, who played both the virginal Maria and her robotic doppelganger, was only 18 years old when Metropolis started filming.  Metropolis also features a definitive performance by Rudolf Klein-Rogge as the mad scientist Rotwang, one of many inspirations for Kubrick’s Dr. Strangelove.  (Both have prosthetic/mechanical hands–a trope that shows up in Star Wars too).

But despite their best efforts, the cast is ultimately overshadowed by the special effects.  Massive scale-model sets were built to convey the scope of the futuristic city with its layered overpasses and airplane traffic.  Each of the 300 automobiles in the photo above were moved by hand in a frame-by-frame stop-motion process.  The production also took advantage of Eugen Schufftan, who invented “the Schufftan process,” which uses mirrors to insert live-action footage of actors into the same shot as miniatures.  Multiple exposure was also used to combine many images in one (as in the images of eyes ogling the robot Maria)–this was done all in-camera, rewinding the same film over and over again to get each additional piece.  The film took more than 310 days to shoot and required hundreds of technicians.

Lang is notable not only for his visual genius, but also for his “legendary cruelty” toward his cast.  According to Frank Miller for TCM:

Whether it was just perfectionism or a sadistic streak (which could be mirrored in the violence in his films), Lang drove cast and crew relentlessly, with little regard for their health or safety. He spent two days rehearsing and shooting a simple scene in which Frohlich collapses at Helms’ feet. By the time he was finished, the actor could barely stand. During a fight scene, Frohlich dislocated his thumb, but Lang only gave him a half-hour to recover going back to work on the scene. During the flooding of the worker’s living areas, he kept directing the extras and children to throw themselves at the biggest water jets until they were almost drowned. When it came time for the workers to burn the robot Maria at the stake, he insisted on using real flames for the shots of Helm. At one point, her dress accidentally caught fire.

The original conception for Metropolis was a collaboration between Fritz Lang and his (second) wife, Thea von Harbou. Lang has claimed that Josef Goebbels offered to make him the head of UFA, directing films for Adolf Hitler (whose favorite film was reported to be Metropolis).  According to the legend, Lang fled Germany by train that same night, in fear because of his Jewish heritage. (Although raised Roman Catholic, his mother was Jewish.) Von Harbou, a Nazi sympathizer, did not follow and they divorced, ending their decade-long collaboration.  He eventually emigrated to Hollywood, where he directed such influential noir films as Fury and The Big Heat.


 Metropolis Movie Review

Roger Ebert
June 2, 2010

The opening shots of the restored “Metropolis” are so crisp and clear they come as a jolt. This mistreated masterpiece has been seen until now mostly in battered prints missing footage that was, we now learn, essential. Because of a 16mm print discovered in 2008 in Buenos Aires, it stands before us as more or less the film that Fritz Lang originally made in 1927. It is, says expert David Bordwell, “one of the great sacred monsters of the cinema.”

Lang tells of a towering city of the future. Above ground, it has spires and towers, elevated highways, an Olympian stadium and Pleasure Gardens. Below the surface is a workers' city where the clocks show 10 hours to squeeze out more work time, the workers live in tenement housing and work consists of unrelenting service to a machine. This vision of plutocracy vs. labor would have been powerful in an era when the assembly line had been introduced on a large scale and Marx had encouraged class warfare.

Lang created one of the unforgettable original places in the cinema. “Metropolis” fixed for countless later films the image of a futuristic city as a hell of material progress and human despair. From this film, in various ways, descended not only “Dark City” but “Blade Runner,” “The Fifth Element,” “Alphaville,” “Escape From L.A.,” “Gattaca” and Batman's Gotham City. The laboratory of its evil genius, Rotwang, created the visual look of mad scientists for decades to come, especially after it was so closely mirrored in “Bride of Frankenstein” (1935). The device of the “false Maria,” the robot who looks like a human being, inspired the Replicants of “Blade Runner.” Even Rotwang's artificial hand was given homage in “Dr. Strangelove.”

The missing footage restored in this version comes to about 30 minutes, bringing the total running time to about 150 minutes. Bordwell, informed by the chief restorer, Martin Koerber of the German Cinematheque, observes that while the cuts simplified “Metropolis” into a science-fiction film, the restoration emphasizes subplots involving mistaken identities. We all remember the “two Marias”: the good, saintly human and her malevolent robot copy, both played by Brigitte Helm. We now learn that the hero, Freder, also changes places with the worker Georgy, in an attempt to identify with the working class. Freder's father, Fredersen, is the ruler of Metropolis.

The purpose of the tall, cadaverous Thin Man, assigned by Freder's father to follow him, is also made more clear. And we learn more about the relationship between Fredersen and the mad scientist Rotwang, and Rotwang's love for the ruler's late wife. This woman, named Hel, was lost in the shorter version for the simplistic reason that her name on the pedestal of a sculpture resembled “Hell,” and distributors feared audiences would misunderstand.

“Metropolis” employed vast sets, thousands of extras and astonishing special effects to create its two worlds. Lang's film is the summit of German Expressionism, with its combination of stylized sets, dramatic camera angles, bold shadows and frankly artificial theatrics.

The production itself made even Stanley Kubrick's mania for control look benign. According to Patrick McGilligan's book Fritz Lang: The Nature of the Beast, the extras were hurled into violent mob scenes, made to stand for hours in cold water and handled more like props than human beings. The heroine was made to jump from high places, and when she was burned at a stake, Lang used real flames. The irony was that Lang's directorial style was not unlike the approach of the villain in his film.

The good Maria, always bathed in light, seems to be the caretaker of the worker's children — all of them, it sometimes appears. After Maria glimpses the idyllic life of the surface, she becomes a revolutionary firebrand and stirs up the workers. Rotwang, instructed by Fredersen, captures this Maria, and transfers her face to the robot. Now the workers, still following Maria, can be fooled and controlled by the false Maria.

Lang's story is broad, to put it mildly. Do not seek here for psychological insights. The storytelling is mostly visual. Lang avoided as many intertitles as possible, and depends on images of startling originality. Consider the first glimpse of the underground power plant, with workers straining to move heavy dial hands back and forth. What they're doing makes no logical sense, but visually the connection is obvious: They are controlled like hands on a clock. When the machinery explodes, Freder has a vision in which the machinery turns into an obscene, devouring monster.

Other dramatic visual sequences: a chase scene in the darkened catacombs, with the real Maria pursued by Rotwang (the beam of his light acts like a club to bludgeon her). The image of the Tower of Babel as Maria addresses the workers. Their faces, arrayed in darkness from the top to the bottom of the screen. The doors in Rotwang's house, opening and closing on their own. The lascivious dance of the false Maria, as the workers look on, the screen filled with large, wet, staring eyeballs. The flood of the lower city and the undulating arms of the children flocking to Maria to be saved.

Much of what we see in “Metropolis” doesn't exist, except in visual trickery. The special effects were the work of Eugene Schufftan, who later worked in Hollywood as the cinematographer of “Lilith” and “The Hustler.” According to Magill's Survey of Cinema, his photographic system “allowed people and miniature sets to be combined in a single shot, through the use of mirrors, rather than laboratory work.” Other effects were created in the camera by cinematographer Karl Freund.

The result was astonishing for its time. Without all of the digital tricks of today, “Metropolis” fills the imagination. Today, the effects look like effects, but that's their appeal. Looking at the original “King Kong,” I find that its effects, primitive by modern standards, gain a certain weird effectiveness. Because they look odd and unworldly compared to the slick, utterly convincing effects that are now possible, they're more evocative: The effects in modern movies are done so well that we seem to be looking at real things, which is not quite the same kind of fun.

The restoration is not pristine. Some shots retain the scratches picked up by the original 35mm print from which the 16mm Buenos Aires copy was made; these are insignificant compared to the rediscovered footage they represent. There are still a few gaps, but because the original screenplay exists, they're filled in by title cards. In general, this is a “Metropolis” we have never seen, both in length and quality.

Although Lang saw his movie as anti-authoritarian, the Nazis liked it enough to offer him control of their film industry (he fled to the United States instead). Some of the visual ideas in “Metropolis” seem echoed in Leni Riefenstahl's pro-Hitler “Triumph of the Will” (1935) — where, of course, they have lost their irony.

“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. Lang filmed for nearly a year, driven by obsession, often cruel to his colleagues, a perfectionist madman, and the result is one of those films without which many others cannot be fully appreciated.

Note: Some of the restored footage shows small black bands at the top and left side, marking missing real estate. Expert projectionist Steve Kraus says this image area was lost due to shortcuts taken either in making the 16mm negative or quite possibly years earlier when the 35mm print they worked from was made.

This article is based in part on my 1998 Great Movies essay.

Brigitte Helm as Maria
Alfred Abel as Joh Fredersen
Gustav Froehlich as Freder
Rudolf Klein-Rogge as Rotwang
Heinrich George as Grot
Directed by
Fritz Lang
Written by
Fritz Lang
Thea von Harbou
Drama, Foreign, Science Fiction

The Making of Metropolis (1927) Fritz Lang - Eng Subs (1/6)