One of the most stylistically ground breaking examples of Deco design is the production design of 1927 silent film Metropolis. It was a visionary futuristic Deco masterpiece by the Austrian director Fritz Lang in collaboration with his wife, Thea von Harbou. German Expressionism meets science fiction, made during the Weimar period, and was the most expensive movie ever made at the time.
Fritz Lang visited New York City in 1924 and was so impressed by the architecture, He imagined an extreme urban metropolis on steroids. Erich Kettelhut was engaged to create set designs for the visionary city and underworld with a combination of Deco, functionalist modernism and Gothic styles.
Metropolis depicts a dystopian future in 2026, (100 years forward from the films making), in which society is thoroughly divided in two: while anonymous workers conduct their endless drudgery below ground whilst their rulers enjoy a decadent life of leisure and luxury.
Many cult films such as Blade Runner and the Fifth Element have been inspired by Metropolis.
The original film was so long (and controversial), it was severely cut, and the version most people have seen has large holes in the convoluted plot. In 2008, a print of Lang’s original cut of the film was found in a museum in Argentina, so it will be interesting if prints of this will be released.
Brigitte Helm is captivating as the central character, Maria, looking much like a deco lady lamp here.
The incredible design of the robot is still iconic today.
The robot is transformed into the likeness of Maria to wreak havoc.
The basic synopsis is, when Freder (Gustav Fröhlich) ventures into the depths of the underworld in search of the beautiful Maria (Brigitte Helm), plans of rebellion are revealed and a Maria-replica robot is programmed by mad inventor Rotwang (Rudolf Klein-Rogge) and master of Metropolis Joh Fredersen (Alfred Abel) to incite the workers into a self-destructive riot.
I found so many incredible poster designs for Metropolis.
The heady days of the mid 1920’s!
Frame by frame animation.