The second silent film I have ever watched (next to The Artist), Metropolis Restored has shed light on a completely different side of the silent film that I had previously never experienced or even been able to acknowledge. Ultimately, I was shocked at how the sci-fi plotline could be so vividly and successfully conveyed, considering the limited cinematic technology of the time, as well as how clearly-expressed and tangible the intensities of the actors’ and actresses’ emotions were.
One of the scenes that made the biggest impact, in my opinion, was the transformation of the robot into Maria’s clone. The dramatic transformation of Maria’s image was very pronounced; as soon as the robot clone version of Maria opened her eyes, she immediately set off a completely different aura, clashing with her original character. Her initially angelic façade had reconstructed itself into a much more sensual, daring façade, emphasized by the use of makeup on her features, making them bolder.
The scene’s effects were also very intricate and visually stunning considering the resources available for the cinema at the time; the large rings of light surrounding the robot magnified the dramatics of the scene. Also, the orchestral soundtrack heavily influenced the tone of the event, beginning as curious and wonder-filled with a hint of mischief, then culminating into a crescendo with the event of the clone’s transformation in the form of a steady, sustained melody – awe-struck, exalting, and happily resigned, signaling one of the film’s plot pinnacles.
Inevitably, there seems to be a certain social commentary concerning Maria that refers to the strictly-dichotomized (dual nature) role that women were expected to fulfill at the time – the innocent, pure, motherly figure vs. the sexually bold, lust-embracing figure. It is suggested that women are only allowed to adhere to one of the two stereotypes. Maria’s transition depicts two separate ideas of beauty; her original conveying the caring, chaste, and deeply moral type of beauty vs. her clone that emits a more intimidating, destructive, dangerous side of beauty. One has the power to cast a spell over men, to enchant them; however, the other has the ability to almost control the actions and thoughts of men entirely in a much more violent manner, stirring up their rage.