Posts Tagged ‘Beam’

PODCAST:

S4E7M – Metropolis (silent film)*

SHOW NOTES:

Wherein we go off the rails and head straight for the weeds. This proves to the longest episode yet for No Deodorant In Outer Space. I am joined once again by former co-host and original founding member of NDIOS, James Rauch a/k/a Beam, as well as a new guest, amateur historian and genre fan, Richard Bacon. We discuss one of science fiction’s earliest depictions on the screen while enjoying libations and sitting around a crackling bonfire near a soybean field. 

For the most part, Beam did not think this movie was fun to watch as it wasn’t a talkie. That said, he did find that the film made him think about the world he’s living in, and how it compared with the world in which the film was created. In that sense, Beam felt the film was artistically successful.  Ryan found the movie just short of perfection, and was profoundly impressed with the attention to detail that the director brought to life. Ryan and Beam disagreed with the amount of melodrama depicted during the course of the film. Rich explained that reading the book added a lot to the viewing experience, and he expressed that silent films are their own medium which should be considered on its own merits as a separate film category. Rich also felt the imagery he watched would stay with him for a long time despite any shortcomings in the content.

A lot of history was discussed during our recording. This film was created after World War I during the lead up to World Word II, so there was a lot to think about there. The director made a lasting impact in the film industry worth noting, and the film itself had a life of its own due to a somewhat recent found footage discovery and restoration process. We got into all this and more during our critique which lasted well into the night. We also got into the beer. 

Things got pretty interesting, a little repetitive, slightly weird, somber serious, and perhaps even silly by the end. All told, however, this rather long episode was a fairly thorough review worthy of the film’s epic and ambitious aspirations. Please enjoy our drunken babbling! We (probably) did!

-Ryan

 

WRITTEN MOVIE REVIEWS:

“Metropolis (1927)” by Fritz Lang (Alfred Abel) (silent film)

Ryan: 4 1/2 Stars “…A bombastic production complemented by subtle silent performances made with painstaking and innovative attention to detail, that come together in a glorious twentieth century fable which changed film forever…

Beam: 3 Stars “…“Well, I guess if you like movies where there is no talking…I mean if you went back in time like a hundred years and tried to film something and create some sort of artistic imagery, you imagine the complicated nature of that–this movie, it was transcendent in that regard…

Rich: 5 Stars “…A visual masterpiece. It is a scifi classic, and it is something that everyone should see certainly select portions of, if not the whole thing…

 

FUN FACTOIDS:

Rotwang admiring his mechanical hand while Maria the Robot looks on.

During our discussion we talked about the fascinating restoration of the film. A documentary on this process called “Voyage to Metropolis” directed by Artem Demenok can be found as a playlist here: https://www.youtube.com/playlist?list=PLioOe7PCjX1Tze5-sj31_7e0mXei1oY8O. The official Kino Lorber website has more on the production, resurrection, and restoration of this amazing work: https://www.kinolorber.com/sites/metropolis/restoration.html#rest.

American filmmaker, William Friedkin, interviewed Fritz Lang back in 1974. During this interview Lang recounted his infamous tale of fleeing Germany after being asked by the Nazi’s to make films for them. That interview, which was mentioned on the show can be seen here: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=or0j1mY_rug&feature=youtu.be. Fritz Lang was a larger than life personality and was notorious in Hollywood for being difficult. A video from Renegade Cut recounts “The Eight Most Insane Direction Decisions by Fritz Lang,” which is found here: https://youtu.be/4m0e4f7W7cE.

Rich compared this silent film story telling as being akin to traditional Japanese Kabuki Theater. It’s interesting to note that this form of dramatic story telling gained popularity in the Yoshiwara, a red-light district of what would later become Tokyo. Both the author and director utilized this place name for a night club in Metropolis. This is a web article on the Yoshiwara connection with Metropolis: https://documents.uow.edu.au/~morgan/metrov1.htm. Also, here is an an UNESCO article on Kabuki Theater which contains audio and video components demonstrating the art and providing a brief explanation: https://documents.uow.edu.au/~morgan/metrov1.htm.

The influence of Metropolis is still evident today. Rich mentioned that the gloved mechanical hand of Rotwang in the film influenced the use of the glove by the title character in Stanley Kubrick‘s 1964 film Dr. Strangelove or: How I Learned to Stop Worrying and Love the Bomb. Shmoop’s did an article relating to this: https://www.shmoop.com/dr-strangelove/mechanical-arm-symbol.html. The metal act Sepultura named their thirteenth studio album from a quote in Metropolis: “The Mediator Between Head and Hands Must Be the Heart.” The pop singer Madonna‘s hit song “Express Yourself” was influenced by the movie and also included a direct quote at the end of the video: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=GsVcUzP_O_8. Lastly, the famous rock band Queen designed their music video for the song “Radio Gaga” mimicking and utilizing actual elements from the movie version of Metropolis. Check it out:

 

* DISCLAIMER: Please be advised that the views and opinions of the hosts and guests of NDIOS are completely their own and do not necessarily reflect the views and beliefs of the other hosts and guests or that of NDIOS.

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PODCAST:

S4E7B – Metropolis (book)*

SHOW NOTES:

Wherein we dissect the hybrid tie-in book “Metropolis,” made in conjunction and simultaneous creation with its filmatic counterpart. This episode was recorded on the edges of agriculture and industry with a warming heart-fire of human ingenuity crackling in the background for added ambiance. I am joined by former co-host and original founding member of NDIOS, James Rauch a/k/a Beam, as well as a new guest, amateur historian and genre fan, Richard Bacon.   

All three of us generally found this book to be a laborious read. Our discussion focused heavily on the plethora of different story themes the author crammed into this relatively short work. Both Rich and Beam cited the historical context in which the work was created, however the class struggles inherent in the book that might have been exemplary of the author’s contemporary time seemed to be too buried to provide much insight. Rich ultimately felt that a revenge plot ran strongest through the book, which was the only thing he could grab onto solidly. Ryan saw familial relationships and conflicts put up against the artifice of machine as the central conflict. Beam struggled to finish the book and just didn’t like it, but thought it had cultural importance and influence. 

The episode runs longer than usual, but this otherwise difficult book provided great fodder for debate and discussion. Enjoy the ambiance of the bonfire and grumblings of civilization purring in the distance as my comrades and I imbibe spirits and pontificate on the ambitious meanderings of this lesser known twin origin piece for one of science fiction’s earliest efforts on the screen.

-Ryan

 

WRITTEN BOOK REVIEWS:

“Metropolis (1925)” by Thea von Harbou (book)

Ryan: 3 Stars “…A romanticized class struggle colored by religious and occult mythology with implacable villains full of old world venom and heroes in glorious melodrama – all set in the vast mechanized metropolis, a city dug as deep in the ground as it towers in the skies…

Beam: 2 Stars “…Melodrama…it was a very over dramatic almost theatrical book in a lot of ways…the style of the writing, the verbosity of it was almost intimidating to me…I didn’t really enjoy reading it…

Rich: 1 1/2 Stars “…Rotwang wants vengeance on the two men who stole the love of his life. One stole her heart. The other stole her life…

(Click the links to read full written reviews on Goodreads.com)

 

FUN FACTOIDS:

Rich felt that one of the author’s strengths was her ability to invoke images in the mind with her writing. Strangely enough this reminded him of well known comic writer, Mike Mignola, who’s eponymous character, Hellboy, is also set in a similar era as this work. Rich vehemently recommended that any and all check out this comic author’s work.

Though not acknowledged during the recording, Rich also managed to slip various references from the Simpsons into the episode. Here is Homer’s Simpson’s famous Bee Monologue from Season 6, Episode 2 “Lisa’s Rival, ” part of which got snuck in at some point: https://youtu.be/97M1X13XvOk.

During the episode we mentioned that the marriage of Thea von Harbou began and ended with affairs. Unfortunately, the director’s first wife caught the author and him in the act and took her own life as a result.–or did she? A website exploring “The Mysterious Death of Lisa Rosenthal,” which Ryan mentioned during the podcast can be found here: http://www.williamahearn.com/lisa.html. This same website contains the reference Ryan also mentioned about Thea having confusing decorating tastes hanging on her wall at home at the time of her death with alleged depictions of both Ganhdi and Hitler: http://www.williamahearn.com/thea.html.

One of the various myth/occult references the author used in this narrative, the Seal of Solomon,  or the Star of David, or the Pentagram was brought up in our previous podcast reviews of the cult-based works: “The Devil Rides Out (Black Magic #1) (1934)” by Dennis Wheatley (book) and “The Devil Rides Out (1968)” by Terence Fisher (Christopher Lee) (film).

Lastly, Ryan also cited a eview of this work from a Marxist perspective. That video “Metropolis – Marxist Theory”  by Renegade Cut can be found here: https://youtu.be/DJjbfaEtPN0.

 

 

* DISCLAIMER: Please be advised that the views and opinions of the hosts and guests of NDIOS are completely their own and do not necessarily reflect the views and beliefs of the other hosts and guests or that of NDIOS.

PODCAST:

S4E7P – Preview Episode (Metropolis)

SUBJECT MATTER:

“Metropolis (1925)” by Thea von Harbou (book)

Metropolis is a 1925 novel by the German writer Thea von Harbou. The story is set in 2026 in a technologically advanced city, which is sustained by the existence of an underground society of labourers. The son of one of the city’s founders falls in love with a girl from the underground society as the two societies begin to clash due to the lack of a unifying force. The novel was the basis for Fritz Lang’s 1927 film Metropolis. (from Wikipedia.com)

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“Metropolis (1927)” by Fritz Lang (Alfred Abel) (silent film)

“The most influential of all silent films, this astounding new version of Fritz Lang’s visionary masterpiece includes 25 minutes of newly-discovered, digitally restored footage and Gottfried Huppertz’s magnificent original score – the closest version ever seen since the film’s 1927 Berlin premiere. METROPOLIS takes place in 2026, when the populace is divided between workers who must live in the dark underground and the rich who enjoy a futuristic city of splendor. The tense balance of these two societies is realized through images that are among the most famous of the 20th century, many of which presage such sci-fi landmarks as 2001: A SPACE ODYSSEY and BLADE RUNNER. Lavish and spectacular, with elaborate sets and modern science fiction style, Metropolis stands today as the crowning achievement of the German silent cinema.” (from Amazon.com)

 

 

* DISCLAIMER: Please be advised that the views and opinions of the hosts and guests of NDIOS are completely their own and do not necessarily reflect the views and beliefs of the other hosts and guests or that of NDIOS.