Skip to main content

Poster for Metropolis, directed by Fritz Lang UFA colour lithograph poster for 'Metropolis', Designer - Heinz Schulz-Neudamm, Berlin, 1927. Items from or pertaining to Metropolis, Fritz Lang's 1927 silent science-fiction tour de force, have a high collectible value; seven years ago an original movie poster for the film sold for $690,000. One can only imagine the excitement then that an antiquarian book firm experienced upon uncovering a 32 page program from the film's London premiere (and the added surprise of discovering it among their own inventory!). The film premiered at the Marble Arch Pavilion and the program was created especially for the event. The program is comprised of anecdotes about filming; photographs; firsthand accounts on the backstory of the movie, including the perspective of the director and his wife and colloborator, Thea von Harbou; and essays about the making of the film and themes it explores. (It sounds like the bits on the special effects in the film would make for quite an interesting read on their own.) Peter Harrington, the London firm that rediscovered and currently has the program, said that only three surviving copies are known to exist.

Click here to view the complete booklet.

A few interesting facts about the film:

  •  More than 37,000 extras were used in the film, including 1,100 bald men (The 'Tower of Babel' scene required 6,000 bald men, but since they could only hire 1,000, the bald extras had to be filmed six times to create the illusion.)
  • The film took 2 years to shoot and is one of the most expensive movies of all time, with a budget of around $200 million (figure adjusted for inflation, June 2007)
  • It was reportedly one of Hitler's favorite films.
  • The Nazi party was apparently so taken with the film, considering it a social blueprint, that Lang, who was Jewish, was offered a 'free pass'. He fled to America.
  • Prior to 2008, only an incomplete negative of the film survived but a "16mm dupe negative copy of the original full-length 35mm export print, which had been sent to Argentina in 1928" was found in Bueno Aires. The film was restored and rereleased in 2010.

Recovered 1927 Metropolis Film Program Goes Behind the Scenes of a Sci-Fi Masterpiece Metropolis: A Rare Fil Programme for Fritz Lang's Masterpiece