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1927 to 1987

1993 to 2002

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Metropolis - 1927 | Story and Screenshots

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He points outside to the magnificent structures and zig-zagged buildings of Metropolis. His unmoved and callous father coldly replies - disregarding the pleas of his son and ignoring the suffering of the hordes of workers.

Fredersen: Where they belong.

Freder: In the depths...? What if one day, those in the depths rise up against you?

A blinking light on a switchboard distracts the Master, and he closes the curtains on the main office view window.

Josaphat returns with more news regarding the accident, and announces the presence of Grot (Heinrich George) - the bearded chief foreman and guardian of the Heart Machine, who has an important message. Grot enters and reports.

Grot: Two more of those damned plans, Mr. Fredersen...in the pockets of two men involved in today's accident at the M-Machine.

Grot presents the boss with two crumpled sheets of paper containing scrawled, mysterious hand-drawn diagrams or maps of the underground, circulated among workers. Fredersen again reprimands Josaphat for not receiving the news from him first, and then abruptly dismisses him.

Fredersen: Apply to the G-Bank for your remaining wages.

Freder is appalled by what the firing means for his friend Josaphat, and complains to his father.

Freder: It means: Go below! Father, go below! Into the depths!

He races after the stunned Josaphat to console him, and prevents him from committing suicide with a gun-blast to his head.

Freder: Do you want to work for me, Josaphat?

Freder then tells him to return home and wait for him.

Freder: I still have a long way to go tonight. Into the depths to be with my brothers.

Meanwhile in the Master's office, the suspicious Fredersen has summoned the Thin Man or Slim (Fritz Rasp), a hired thug and henchman, to follow and spy upon his son.

Fredersen: Beginning today, I wish to be kept informed of every step taken by my son.

Continuing his pursuit of the mysterious young woman, Freder enters the squalid, smoky, labyrinthine underground work area through door V, where in the Gothic depths, he is overwhelmed by the heat. He notices an exhausted worker, number 11811 (Erwin Biswanger), struggling with an electricity-routing device, a large clock dial.

The worker must match up lighted bulbs on the clock's rim with the two hands of the clock during his ten hour shift. As the sweating worker collapses in his arms, he greets him as Brother. The worker revives and pleads . . .

Worker 11811: The machine...Someone has to stay at the machine!

Freder sacrificially proposes to take his place at the dehumanizing, tiring machine.

Freder: Someone will stay at the machine...ME! Listen to me...I want to trade lives with you!

Freder switches clothes and identities with underground worker 11811, and gives him a note specifying the location of Josaphat's apartment, telling him to go there and wait for him. As 11811 leaves in Freder's chauffeured car (followed by the Thin Man), he betrays his promise and visits a red-light district instead.

Finding money, lots of money, in Freder's clothes, he succumbs to the temptations of the city and the night. Instead of going to Josaphat's apartment, he has himself driven to Yoshiwara, Metropolis' entertainment district.

The next title card reads: "In the middle of Metropolis, there was a strange house, overlooked by the centuries." It is the rickety old residence of Rotwang (Rudolf Klein-Rogge), an alchemist and inventor. The wild-haired, demented scientist with a black-gloved right hand is summoned to speak to Master Joh Fredersen in one of the home's high gloomy rooms, and as he waits, he draws open a curtain concealing a small alcove.

There on a pedestal "as wide as a wall and as tall as a man," he sees the stone head of a woman - with the word HEL engraved on the pedestal of the statuette. Below HEL, he reads: BORN FOR MY HAPPINESS AND MANKIND'S BLESSING, LOST TO JOH FREDERSEN. DIED GIVING BIRTH TO FREDER, JOH FREDERSEN'S SON.

Rotwang silently enters the room with the monument, and furious - he tears closed the curtain in front of the bust. "The angrier Rotwang becomes, the calmer grows Joh Fredersen." Evidently, there was something of a love triangle between Hel, also a love interest of Rotwang, who married Joh but died during Freder's birth.

Joh attempts to calm the raving, embittered scientist

Fredersen: Let the dead rest in peace, Rotwang...For you, as for me, she is dead.

Rotwang (rebuffs): For me, she is not dead, Joh Fredersen, for me, she lives!

In his efforts to recreate or replace Hel with a robot, Rotwang lost his hand.

Rotwang: Do you want to see her?

Rotwang reveals his ultimate robotic creation - a beautiful, fully-functioning android robot that is instructed to stand up.

It slowly walks forward, and extends its hand toward Joh. Rotwang's goal is to turn a machine into a human, while Joh has long been treating the working class of men like machine-automatons to service larger machines.

Rotwang (exclaims): Isn't it worth the loss of a hand to have created the man of the future, the Machine Man? Give me another 24 hours and no one, Joh Fredersen, no one will be able to tell a Machine-Man from a mortal! The woman is mine, Joh Fredersen! The son of Hel was yours!

The real reason for Joh's visit is to seek advice, to have Rotwang decipher the meaning of the secret worker diagrams-plans discovered by Grot in workers' clothes.

Meanwhile, back toiling at the tiring job of the worker, Freder (who has discovered a copy of the diagrammed map/plans in his pocket) is confided in by another worker, and told that at the end of the shift, at two o'clock, there is a secret meeting in the ancient catacombs.

Worker: She has summoned us again.

Visual images of the dials on the machine and the ticking work clock merge back and forth. He cries out from the clock, as the crucified Christ cried out from the cross . . .

Freder: Father! Father Will ten hours never end??!!

After the painstaking shift that finally ends, Freder joins other exhausted workers as they file down into the deep catacombs, where they have been summoned. At the same time, Rotwang interprets the meaning of the secret hand-drawn map/plans.

Rotwang: : It is a plan of the 2000-year-old catacombs deep below the lowest levels of your Metropolis.

Fredersen (concerned): I should like to know what my workers are doing in the catacombs.

Rotwang descends with Joh to his basement where he opens a trap door, with stairs leading down into the catacombs.

Workers are also assembling in the subterranean, darkened catacombs to see Maria and Freder is stunned to again see the wistful, Christ-like, angelic, light-haired young woman standing on an altar decorated with tall crosses and lighted candles behind her. A spiritual leader, she preaches to her raptured comrades, as Rotwang and Joh spy on the congregation from a secret vantage-point.

She makes an obvious analogy between the tower-building in Babel, and the workers who build and maintain Metropolis - she speaks about how the conceivers of Babel mistreated the slaves (similar to how the rulers of Metropolis are uncaringly exploiting their downtrodden workers):

Maria: Today I will tell you the legend of the Tower of Babel.

Flashback . . .

Maria: Come let us build us a tower whose top may reach unto the stars! And on top of the tower, we will write the words: Great is the world and its Creator! And great is Man! . . . But the minds that had conceived the Tower of Babel could not build it. The task was too great. So they hired hands for wages.

Streams and columns of naked, bald and chained slaves surge toward the tower from five directions.

Maria: But the hands that built the Tower of Babel knew nothing of the dream of the brain that had conceived it. Babel.

Thousands of slaves labor to move large slabs of rock - the words BABEL begin dripping blood.

Maria: One man's hymns of praise became other men's curses. People spoke the same language, but could not understand each other.

Maria clutches her left breast.

Maria: Head and hands need a mediator! The mediator between head and hands must be the heart!

The workers in the audience sink down to their knees, as the beautiful Maria urges them to peacefully seek compromise and await their salvation by a divine mediator, coming between the rulers and the ruled.

Worker (impatient): But where is our mediator, Maria?

A spotlight shines on Freder in the crowd, as he beats his chest in agony. She looks upward.

Maria: Wait for him! He will surely come!

Restless Worker (threatens): We will wait, Maria!...But not much longer!

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Resource Credits: filmsite.org

Dystopian Main

1927 to 1987

1993 to 2002

Ćon Flux

The Island

Babylon A.D.

Death Race


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