Monday, 22 June 2009
The German film director, Fritz Lang, would make a great subject for an auteur study. His film, "Metropolis" (1927), was a big- budget, futuristic movie, that was then the most expensive in Germany. With the rise of Hitler Lang fled to the USA where he used his experience and knowledge of expressionism to make several films in several genres, particularly, westerns and film noir.
"Metropolis" was reputedly Hitler's favourite film. Hitler's minister for propaganda, Joseph Geobbels thought the film encapsulated nazi ideals. Fritz Lang himself became uncomfortable with the film and disliked it possibly for the same reason, even though "Metropolis" that he made his name. His wife and co-creator of the film, Thea Gabriele von Harbou, remained in Germany as a faithful supporter of the nazi regime.
These clips are from the Giorgio Moroder version which he coloured and set to mostly synthesiser music in 1984. This version is both loved for its music and despised by some purists of the film.
The film would also make an interesting genre or gender study.
The mad scientist, C. A. Rotwang, has made a female robot for the master of Metropolis, Fredersen. But scientist has ulterior motives!
Rotwang throws a party for Fredersen and his friends to prove how human his devilishly tempting creation can be! By this time the female robot has been given the appearance of Maria.
The real Maria meet Fredersen's rich son by mistake as she goes through a door on the wrong floor. Two worlds collide in fully-blown German expressionism.
Rotwang chases after Maria so he can carry out his experiment to gain her appearance for his robot.
Rotwang's transformation of the Robot after he captures Maria.
A longer sequence from the film after which the Robot, as the false Maria, has done its worst by getting the workers to flood their factory underworld. (This clip's quality is poorer than those above. These clips are the work of Metropolis-Redux, an American who has gone to great pains to produce a DVD quality print of the film.)
Thursday, 18 June 2009
If you prefer assessing John Ford's "Stagecoach" using a genre approach you could focus on some of these points and view several scenes to decide whether Ford consciously focuses on, say, various forms of social prejudice, or whether these issues simply emerge out of the time in which the film was made. Perhaps there is something to be said for each approach. Clint Eastwood said that in "Josey Wales" (1975-6)he was not particularly conscious of his theme of social unity which could be seen as the need for Americans to unite after the Vietnam War. (See earlier posts). Yet in retrospect that is what he seems to have reflected in his film - Josey Wales is supported by the different types who, through his help, have banded together into a social group, suggesting that there is strength through social unity. Ford's film also mirrors an American society that was divided by the Depression and, perhaps, still feeling the after-effects of the Civil War from 65 years earlier.
Click on this image to enlarge.
Click on this image to enlarge.