Lost Scenes from "Metropolis" found in Argentina

From: Ken Bawcom (email suppressed)
Date: Sat Jul 05 2008 - 16:50:48 PDT

Lost scenes shown from sci-fi classic 'Metropolis'
July 4, 2008, 6:05 PM EST

Lost scenes from the sci-fi classic "Metropolis,"
recently discovered in the archives of a Buenos Aires
museum, were shown to journalists for the first time
in decades on Thursday.

A long-lost original cut of the 1927 silent film sat
for 80 years in a private collection and then in the
Museum of Cinema in Buenos Aires, where it was
discovered in April with scratched images that hadn't
been seen before.

Museum director Paula Felix-Didier said theirs is the
only copy of German director Fritz Lang's complete

"This is the version Fritz Lang intended," said Martin
Koerber, a curator at the Deutsche Kinemathek film
museum in Berlin, Germany.

"Metropolis," written by Lang and his actress wife
Thea von Harbou, depicts a 21st century world divided
between a class of underworld workers and the
"thinkers" above who control them.

Soon after its initial release at the height of
Germany's Weimar Republic, distributors cut Lang's
three-and-a-half-hou r masterpiece into the shorter
version since viewed by millions worldwide.

But a private collector carried an original version to
Argentina in 1928, where it has stayed, Felix-Didier

In the 1980s, Argentine film fanatic Fernando Pena
heard about a man who had propped up a broken
projector for "hours" to screen "Metropolis" in the
1960s. But the version of the film he knew was only
one-and-a-half hours long. For years, he begged Buenos
Aires' museum to check their archives for the man's
longer version.

This year, museum researchers finally agreed and in
April uncovered the reels in the museum's archive.

In June, Felix-Didier flew with a DVD to the Friedrich
Wilhelm Murnau Foundation in Wiesbaden, Germany, which
owns the rights to "Metropolis." Researchers there
confirmed that the scenes were original.

News of the find excited film enthusiasts worldwide.

"This is a movie that millions and millions of people
have seen since its release and yet, in many ways,
we've never seen the true film," said Mike Mashon,
head of the Moving Image section of the U.S. Library
of Congress in Washington.

"Metropolis" was reissued in the U.S. in 2002 by Kino
International Corp., which owns the rights to
distribute the film domestically, Kino's general
manager Gary Palmucci said.

Kino may rerelease the new, complete version of the

Meanwhile, Buenos Aires' Museum of Cinema is holding
its treasure tight.

"The film hasn't left the museum and it won't leave
until the city government and the Murnau Foundation
decide what to do," Felix-Didier said.
Copyright 2008 Associated Press. All rights reserved.
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