Friday, May 22, 2009


1927. Not Rated, 115 minutes.
Director: Fritz Lang. Starring Alfred Abel, Brigitte Helm, Gustav Frohlich, Rudolf Klein-Rogge.
Young, privileged Freder (Frohlich) accidentally discovers that the prosperous city he lives in, and his father Fredersen (Abel) runs, is kept running literally on the backs of the poor, nearly enslaved laborers who themselves live far below the city's surface. The movie proves one thing, man is perpetually cynical about the future, especailly in regards to technology. It gives us a marvelous dystopian society the powers that be are trying to pass of as an underground paradise while essentially keeping the working class in bondage. Fredersen makes a great villain, not because he's evil, though he is, but more because like the best bad guys he believes what he's doing is right and just and will do anything to perserve what he sees as the proper order of things. The concepts used here have aged remarkably well as many of them are still recycled in sci-fi to this day. Even more surprising, the special fx look better than many movies half it's 80+ years. Of course since it's a silent movie, some people will automatically be turned off and that's a shame. However, since silent movies are such a different beast to tame for today's audience, I won't grade it. I'll just say if you're a serious sci-fi movie buff then you should see this, if for no other reason than making sure you see all the classics of the genre to see how far it has, and hasn't come.

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