Lang's Metropolis at RockefellerThe 1927 German expressionist silent-film classic Metropolis, directed by Fritz Lang, will be screened at 8 p.m. Saturday, Oct. 21, in Rockefeller Memorial Chapel. World-renowned organist Wolfgang Ruebsam will perform an original score to accompany the film.
The biggest production of the silent era, using nearly 37,000 actors, Metropolis is a melange of love story, melodrama and social commentary. Set in the year 2000, the story takes place in a highly industrialized city that is ruled by a heartless capitalist who, by the film's end, is reconciled with labor through the power of love. The film was widely criticized upon its release for its sociopolitical content.
As a work of visual art, Metropolis has had a tremendous impact on cinema. Its art nouveau sets, futuristic creations, geometric patterns formed by the movements of huge masses of actors, and use of model buildings to create the appearance of an enormous city were revolutionary.
Shortly after making the film, director Lang fled his homeland when Hitler's propaganda minister asked him to head the German film industry. Lang spent the next 20 years making films in Hollywood before returning to Germany.
The original version of Metropolis was 17 reels long; it no longer exists in its entirety. The version that will be shown at Rockefeller Chapel is a 35mm print that has a running time of 100 minutes and has English intertitles.
Organist Wolfgang Ruebsam has been performing at Rockefeller Chapel since 1981 and is internationally recognized for his numerous recordings on such labels as Philips, Deutsche Grammophon, Bayer and Naxos Records. This is the fifth year he has accompanied a silent-film screening at Rockefeller Chapel.
Tickets are $7, $5 for students, and can be purchased at the door, or in advance by calling 753-1191. Proceeds will support the restoration of the Chapel's E.M. Skinner pipe organ, one of only a few of its kind remaining in the United States.
For more information, call 753-1191.