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Pitchfork: “2011 Holiday Gift Guide”

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I got to write about one of my favorite things ever: the Giorgio Moroder version of Metropolis! It’s out on DVD and Blu-Ray and totally makes an awesome gift for the holidays. I also co-sign that Smile box set, Ellen Willis’ Out of the Vinyl Deeps, and Chuck Eddy’s Rock and Roll Never Forgets. By the way, if you haven’t seen Moroder’s version, it is on Netflix Watch It Now.
In 1981, disco game-changer and electronic music pioneer Giorgio Moroder thought it would be good idea to restore Fritz Lang’s 1927 classic Metropolis. Previously lost footage was rediscovered and the negative was cleaned up– and then the running time was sliced nearly in half, the footage color-tinted, and a propulsive soundtrack featuring Freddie Mercury, Pat Benatar, Loverboy, and others was smeared over the silent cinema classic.

Arriving in 1984, Moroder’s Metropolis soon disappeared– no doubt, because it was an insane idea that film purists saw as something like sacrilege. Now, fresh off a 2010 theatrical release of Metropolis (the old boring version without Billy Squier songs in it), Kino Classics has made Moroder’s version available on Blu-Ray and DVD. If you can comfortably accept that this thing exists– it helps to remember that Metropolis never had an official score and many now believe it has been projected at the wrong number of frames-per-second– this remixed version is just a lot of fun.

A big fat synth squelch announces the infamous explosion of the M-Machine. Robot Maria’s theme song is Bonnie Tyler’s “Here She Comes”… and it works! The upper-class, all residing in monolithic skyscrapers are soundtracked by coked-out synths and gated drums, predicting Oliver Stone’s Wall Street via footage from the 20s and somehow ending up as a comment on 2011. When it first shuffled into theaters, Moroder’s Metropolis seemed gauche and excessive. Now, it’s ideal for our era of GIF-making and retrolicious music videos that routinely refashion other peoples’ property.

Written by Brandon

November 25th, 2011 at 4:06 am

Posted in Pitchfork

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