January 10, 1927 — Fritz Lang’s Metropolis premieres in Berlin.


Ah, that’s Brigitte Helm in Metropolis. God, she was beautiful! Metropolis, you know, was born from my first sight of the skyscrapers of New York in October 1924, and then I took myself to Hollywood where UFA sent me to study American production methods. It was terribly hot that season… In any case, while visiting New York, I thought it was the crossroads of multiple and confused human forces, blinded and knocking into one another, in an irresistible desire for exploitation, and living in perpetual anxiety. I spent an entire day walking the streets. 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. At night, the city did not simply give the impression of living: it lived as illusions live. I knew I should make a film about these impressions.”Fritz Lang, 1965

Brigitte Helm in Metropolis (1927, dir. Fritz Lang)


On the creation of Robot Maria:

“The concentric rings of light that surround her and move from top to bottom were in fact a little ball of silver rapidly swung in a circle and filmed on a background of black velvet. We superimposed those shots, in the lab, over the shot of the robot in a sitting position that we had filmed previously.”

-Fritz Lang

Fritz Lang & the monocle he sported during the filming of Metropolis (1927)

Fritz Lang

On the increased use of violence in post-war films:

“After the war, there was no longer a sense of family. We no longer loved our flag or honored our country. People no longer believe in hell and brimstone, or even retribution and therefore they do not believe in punishment after they are dead. What could we be afraid of? There was only one thing: physical pain. Physical pain comes from violence and I think today that is the only fact that people really fear. And when we are afraid of violence, then it becomes an element of drama. So, brutality’s now a necessary ingredient of dramatic development and denouement.

We can’t avoid violence because it is everywhere. It should be present in films. But everything depends on the way it is shown. I detest violence when it is shown as a spectacle or when it is used to make us laugh. And that is how it is used more and more on the screen.”

-Lang, in 1967 interview (via Brunnhuber’s Fritz Lang: His Life & Work)