The original Metropolis has been found. ZEITmagazin based out of Hamburg shows some bits of scenes that have been thought lost for eighty years. Apparently they found the rest of the film in the Museo del Cine in Buenos Aires. Apparently it’s the real deal, because Rainer Rother (Artistic Director of the Deutsche Kinemathek Museum), Prof. Martin Koerber (who restored what up until now was considered the definitive version of the film–which I think is this one out from Kino) and Enno Patalas (the film historian who helped Koerber) all nodded and said, “Whoa.” That’s not a direct quote, mind you, but that was the gist.
Expanding on that idea a bit, Prof. Koerber said: “No matter how bad the condition of the material may be, the original intention of the film, including all of its minor characters and subplots, is now once again tangible for the normal viewer. The rhythm of the film has been restored.” And as you can tell from the pic there, its condition is pretty shabby. You can see more images from the new-old scenes here.
The Murnau Foundation, along with the Museo del Cine, are going to work together to get the material available to all of us.
This just goes to show: just when you think you’ve got the last DVD copy of a film you’ll ever need, something else always turns up. Even eighty years later. We’re going to laugh our asses off when additional footage of stuff like The Greatest American Hero shows up in 2147. “WILLIAM KATT’S LOST VAULT DISCOVERED IN ROME.” I’m only half-kidding.