Book description

Book info

Author
Title
eBook formatPaperback, (torrent)En
PublisherFaber & Faber
File size4.7 Mb
Release date 01.03.1990
ISBN9780571126019
Pages count131
Book rating4 (10 votes)
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I recently re-read this curiosity which I apparently purchased sometime after 1989 (that's the date of edition that I have; the book was 1st published in 1973.)

Evaluated today, it seems like a hopeless hodgepodge what with text alternately taken from the abridged Channing Pollock Metropolis' inter-titles and selected portions of Thea von Harbou's novel then coupled together with reverse-engineered shooting instructions (e.g. "Seen in reverse shot, Joseph stares at Fredersen, lost for words. Fredersen faces camera.")

Even back then (late 80s, early 90s for me), I found this strange book perplexing. For instance, who does one take as the author? The cover lists Fritz Lang (contributor to the screenplay) with only interior sideways mention of von Harbou (main screenplay writer, writer of the novel); and, whomever crafted the bowdlerized English title cards gets no credit (certainly that person deserves co-author mention). As for the compiler of all of the material (another candidate for co-author, no?), that's a complete mystery. Was it possibly Paul M. Jansen or Siegfried Kracauer who wrote introductory pieces? Who knows?

I suppose that in the 70s - with any version of the film itself difficult to view - that this effort would have been a little more worthwhile. But what worth it once had is completely dissipated by time.

The novel translated to English is readily available (and, in fact, always was with a little digging). The complete film is all but restored. My feeling is that these facts render this take on "Metropolis" now nothing but an obsolete oddity.

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