It seems to me that many movies have drawn inspiration from Metropolis. This can be seen in similarities of scene, as in the similarities between the bell-ringing scenes in Metropolis and Disney’s The Hunchback of Notre Dame, or in similarities in plot like in this year’s Elysium: both it and Metropolis involve the poor (who live in dejection) being subjected by the rich who live lavishly in a world above.
All that aside, my favorite scene was when Freder finds Georgy, a worker about to pass out from being overworked, and decides to not only do his job for him, but basically give him all he has. This scene is refreshing in that it depicts a young, rich man who works too little switching roles with a poor man who works too hard. This simple action shatters the class barrier and displays the rich man and the poor man as equal. This is the kind of good heartedness that builds credibility for Freder as a protagonist to stand behind; he is the good guy, and who doesn’t want to root for the good guy?
This scene adds a lighthearted feeling to the sort of sad tone that the film was following up to that point. Seeing an action as simple as this one performed today (headline: Mark Zuckerberg Trades Lives with Local Hobo) would not only make headlines but serve as a heartwarming tale, an ideal to strive towards for philanthropists everywhere.
This scene also carries a certain amount of symbolism and actually employs one of the film’s recurring motifs: the clock. Not only does the action that Freder is performing once he starts working at Georgy’s post look like he is turning the hands of the clock, but a clock is actually superimposed on the machine when Freder is shown laboring later on in the prelude. The metaphor here is that the work is so cumbersome, that time likely goes slower for the worker, making it seem that his work will never end, at least until he passes out (like Georgy almost did) or dies.