Week 2 Blog Assignment

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.


3 thoughts on “Week 2 Blog Assignment

  1. I too greatly admired this sequence, particularly when Freder is working the clock-like machine. When you think about what he is actually doing, it makes no logical sense. A machine with long arms that must constantly be manipulated to follow blinking lightbulbs? Preposterous! But that only adds to what the scene is really depicting. Reaching out to his expressionist roots, Lang here is asking us to put away all logic and simply experience with Freder the plight of working force. Their jobs seem difficult, pointless, and exaggerated. The clock becomes a symbol and nothing more than that. It’s a massive hungry machine that works against Freder, sucking away all his time, energy, and dignity. And all this adds to the dramatic effect of what Lang is saying. It is a depiction of inescapable slavery. There’s no sense of realism, nor is there any need for it, because really, that is the whole point. It is to show Freder (and all the workforce) fighting the real foe: the hungry and merciless mechanical beast in the depths of the Metropolis.

  2. I also thought that some of the scenes were similar to The Hunchback of Notre Dame! Especially at the end of the movie when the fake Maria was being burned alive. This instantly reminded me of when Esmeralda was being being burned at the stake, with the crowd screaming and wanting her to die. Also, when Freder was fighting Rotwang at the top of the building, with the statues of gargoyles in the scene. This was almost identical to when Quasimodo was fighting with Frollo at the top of Notre Dame with the gargoyles pouring out lava.

    I thought this scene was very essential to reveal the true character of Freder. At the beginning of the movie we saw him in the garden with people of wealth wearing fancy clothes, and here we see him at the total opposite end of the social ladder. It shows that Freder is a kindhearted and caring person much unlike his father is.

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