The long-awaited film for which UFA has been beating the gong for the last year. It is said to have cost 7 million marks (about $1.68 million), and the picture looks it. From a photographic and directorial standpoint it is something entirely original.
The weakness is the scenario by Thea von Harbou. It gives effective chances for scenes, but it actually gets nowhere. The scene is laid 100 years in the future, in the mighty city of Metropolis, a magnified New York. It is ruled by a millionaire, who lives in the upper city and whose son falls in love with a girl of the workers, who lives below in the city of the toilers. This girl is preaching goodwill to the workers in the catacombs below the city.
An inventor has discovered a way to make artificial human beings, and at the request of the millionaire gives this creation of his the form of the girl. She preaches destruction to the workers, and they destroy the machinery which regulates everything in the city. Only through the aid of the boy and the real girl can the children of the workers be saved from inundation in the lower city. The workers turn against the evil marionette and burn her on a scaffold.
Too bad that so much really artistic work was wasted on this manufactured story.
Brigitte Helm, in the leading feminine role, is a find. If she has really never acted before, Fritz Lang, directing, certainly did an extraordinary piece of work with her. Also Heinrich George, Fritz Rasp and Gustav Froelich deliver exceptional performances.
[In 1984 a tinted, re-edited and newly scored version, running 87 mins., was issued by composer Giorgio Moroder.]