After premiere night the film’s showing in all of Germany was limited to Berlin’s Pavillon am Nollendorfplatz, where it was shown until 13/05/1927 (Though some sources suggest 10/05/1927). Music conductor: Richard Etlinger.
The film’s running time was between 135 (Hans Erdmann, "Filmmusik", Reichsfilmblatt, Nr. 4, 1927) to 140 (Roland Schacht) minutes, excluding intermission, which translates to a speed of 26 to 27 frames per second. This corresponds with the handwritten notes by Gottfried Huppertz on his copy of the "Metropolis" script, where is repeatedly noted a speed of half a Meter per second (i.e. for scene 55, on page 74, it is noted: “93m = 186sek”)
Further notes: One day before the premiere Fritz Lang gave a speech on the Berlin-Sender Radio Station about “Metropolis” (See: "Kritik Der Leinwand", Die Filmwoche, Nr. 3, 1927). It is, however, not the speech which was later featured on the 12" VOX Shellac record Nr. 08386. The speech was most likely given at the program “Talk on ‘Film Secrets’”, which ran from 19:55 to 20:30 (“Programmes for the Week-End”, Times, London, 08/01/1927, where the name of the program is given in English).
A later radio transmission in Breslau, dating 07/02/1927, featured a reading from Thea von Harbou’s "Metropolis" script, as well as musical extract from Gottfried Huppertz’ music for “Metropolis”.
The premiere of the film lasted, including intermission, 165minutes (20:45 to 23:30), and was accompanied with the music by Gottfried Huppertz (“Neue Freie Presse”, Vienna, 08/02/1927). Subsequent screenings are reported with the same length. At the premiere were present, as was at the Berlin premiere, many important people, including Bundespräsident Hainisch, Präsident des Nationalrates Waber, Vizekanzler Dinghofer and UFA's general director Bausback. The premiere of the film was a failure and the showing ended in almost silent applause. (Ditto)
Starting 08/02/1927, the film was shown in five Viennese cinemas: "Burg Kino", "Central Kino", "Kärntner Kino", "Löwen Kino" and "Maria-Theresien Kino". Some reviews briefly mention Hel and "Der Schmale". From available information, it is possible to conclude the version shown in this country was identical to the German premiere version.
Additional Sources: "Wiener Sonn-und Montags-Zeitung", 07/02/1927; "Wiener Zeitung", #32, 09/02/27; "Die Neue Zeitung", 09/02/27; "Wiener Sonn- und Montags-Zeitung", 14/02/27; "Entscheidungen der Wiener Filmzensur“, Paolo Caneppele, 2002, Film archive Austria.
Before official premiere, there were two Press screenings: 15/02/1927 in the "Rembrandt Theater", Amsterdam, and 16/02/1927 in the "Luxor Theater" in Rotterdam. In the Netherlands "Metropolis" was presented as a two part Film. The first part was named "Het moderne Babylon" ("The modern Babylon") and the second part was named "De valsche Maria" ("The false Maria"). Alternately, sometimes the parts were referred as "Metropolis 1" and "Metropolis 2", or collectively as "Metropolis" when shown together.
The second part of “Metropolis” premiered in Groningen on 25/02/1927. In the other cities due to high amount of visitors it was postponed, starting 02/03/1927 in Rotterdam, and 04/03/1927 in The Hague and Amsterdam. The following years, however, the two parts were shown together and not on different dates. The film was presented with the music of Gottfried Huppertz on both parts.
The length of 4468m comes from Censorship notes from the National Archives in Hague, which specify the following information:
File #02290, 11/10/1928:
Metropolis I, 2602m, no cuts
File #02291, 11/10/1928:
Metropolis II, 1866m, Two cuts:
"Tusschen titel 134 en 135 moet dansscene vervallen, zoo ook de dansscene voor titel 145" (Between titles #134 and #135 the Dance-Scene must be dropped; similarly the Dace scene before title #145)
(Probably meaning, part of the dance in "Yoshiwara" shown during Freder's illness, and its repentance when Josaphat visits Freder's room later in the film)
The long length is due to repeating footage (and openning credits) in the second part. No information is given as to the length of the cuts. While these notes do not give exact representation of the total length in February 1927, they do show that in October 1928 a practically complete print was still in the Netherlands. This could be extended further: the latest date in which a newspaper ad explicitly noted Metropolis as a two part film, was in 17/10/1930, where screenings took place until 23/10/1930 (“Niewsblad van het noorden”, 16/10/1930, Groningen), and the last time an ad notes the length as 15 acts is 21/04/1931 ("Schiedamsche Courant", 17/04/1931). Of running time I found only one notice that states 180 minutes, but one should account roundings, the longer length, and the fact most likely two intermissions are taken into account (“De Groene Amsterdammer”, Nr. 2592, 26/02/1927).
Interesting sidenote is that while the name "HEL" supposedly caused problems in the U.S. due to its similarity to the word “Hell”, no one seems to have had a problem with the name in the Netherlands, where that is the exact spelling for "Hell" or “Inferno” (i.e., the second part of Fritz Lang’s Dr. Mabuse was released in the Netherlands as “Dr. Mabuse: De Hel”).
Additional Sources: "Niewe Rotterdamsche courant", 17/02/1927; "Het Vaderland" 03/03/1927; Cinema Context F005391
A film review of "Ben Hur" from 16/01/1927 (“Nyugat” periodical) notes that "Metropolis" will arrive in February. The review for "Metropolis," from 16/02/1927 (also from the "Nyugat" Periodical), Only gives one piece of useful information: a note of the music being made by Gottfried Huppertz. A theater poster from the "Omnia" Theater in Budapest notes the Film is in 14 acts and uses Gottfried Huppertz' Music, conducted by a 20 piece Orchestra.
This is apparently the shortest version of "Metropolis" to be shown in Europe. The Norwegian Media Authority (Medietilsynet) notes of the following cuts:
(Total cuts: 22.5m)
An ad at the Norwegian "Aftenposten" that states the usage of Gottfried Huppertz's music is most likely a mistake, due to the fact almost half the film is gone.
According to a Danish Film-Program, the film was 9 acts.
After a print of the film was sent to Paramount in December 1926 the chief executive Walter Wanger assigned Channing Pollock to re-write the titles. In addition to the many cuts, the film’s plot was severely changed, and new names were given to most characters.
A Nice piece of trivia is the fact that Lang hated this version so much he declared he would never work in America. Naturally, as all know, Lang eventually immigrated to the U.S., but what is always overlooked is the ironic fact Lang actually ended teaming up with Walter Wanger to create “Diana productions” (Which among other produced "Scarlet Street").
An ad from the time says the film is 11 acts (“Latvijas Kareivis", Riga, 09/03/1927). A later ad from February 1928 says the film is only 10 acts. The film was rescreened in Riga again, after initial screening, on 22/03/1927. The only film review I could find was a very small and un-informative one bearing the negative title “Amateurism and the Arts”.
Based on the U.S. "Pollock version" (due to a pre-signed agreement between the local distributer and Paramount, where the later would edit films for UK distribution), although made from an export copy of the film, it was further cut by the BBFC (British Board of Film Censorship). The above noted length comes from contemporary reviews ("The Bioscope" and "Kinematograph Weekly", both dating 24/03/1927). The BBFC does not provide any information but the obscure fact the film had a running time of 118 minutes and 13 seconds before any cuts were made. Unlike in the U.S, it seems here reports were much more aware, and critical, of Channing Pollock's part in the film's editing and titeling. Especially negative (about the titles and the film in general) was author Arnold Bennett: “’Adapted by Channing Pollock.’ Good God! What captions. Enough to make you give up the ghost.” (“The Journals of Arnold Bennett”, entry for 03/08/1927). To those unfamiliar with the English term, one can sum up the fact the Inter-titles caused him to have suicidal thoughts (no less!). It sas shown in the Premiere theater until 25/04/1927, and then moved to the "Academy Theater" in Brighton. General release started on 26 or 27/09/1927, in the "Stoll Theater" and "Shepherds Bush Pavilion" in London.
Classification information: http://www.bbfc.co.uk/website/Classified.nsf/0/9FAA95787510EDF8802566C8004536EA?OpenDocument
Newspaper ads note the films as "15 acts", and having Gottfried Huppertz' music.
Sources: "Päewalehht", 20/03/1927, Tallinn; "Postimees", 04/04/1927, Tartu
Release date and location according to a database maintained by the Finnish Board of Film Classification (Valtion elokuvatarkastamo, VET) and the National Audiovisual Archive. A credit there is given to Gottfried Huppertz, but it is possible this was added in retrospect.
No useful information from Geneva newspapers (Except the above dates), but Swiss newspaper clippings in German language (From Zürich) which I saw while in Germany note the usage of Huppertz' music.
One should note, however, the problem of the fact not all Switzerland’s cantons appear to have had the exact same film prints released in them. For example It is certain that in Geneva and Zürich two different versions of Fritz Lang’s “Die Nibelungen” were shown.
Sources: Journal de Genève, 16/03/1927 and 19/03/1927
Submitted at 2734m (Or 2717m?), it was cut by censorship to 2560m. Information is from the "Svenska Filminstitutet". Credit to Gottfried Huppertz and Konrad Elfers is naturally given in retrospect.
Only information I could find of premiere date comes from the Internet Movie Database, which I do not trust too much. A search in Greek Language newspapers might suggest the film reached Thessaloniki on 13/04/1927, but further research is needed.
Newspaper ads and promotional material note the Film is 14 Acts and Two parts, although in some places (for example in Ljubljiana, where the film premiered 14/04/1927), the two parts were shown consecutively which led to a warning that the presentetion lasts for Three Hours. One source also notes the usage of Gottfried Huppertz' music.
Film was 14 acts and divided into two parts. The film was shown on 01/05/1927 in "Apollo", Arad.
In Spain, as in the Netherlands, Metropolis was presented as a two part film. The second part premiered on 16/05/1927, although there is no clear naming separation between parts in newspaper ads. The film's complete title was: "Metrópolis: La Ciudad sobre las Ciudades" (Metropolis: the city over cities). From a film synopsis in the Film journal “Popular Film”, one can tells of Georgy's visit to Yoshiwara and Freder's visit to Josaphat. All plot elements are there, and only alternation is the (odd) naming of "Der Schmale" as "Perner". The film's Inter-titles were re-written locally by playwright Manuel Linares Rivas. The only review I found that addressed these titles was negative, saying they were too verbal, and stating the obvious. The film reached Madrid only on 23/01/1928 ("Real" Cinema), where it was shown in a cut version (unknown length). Laster on in April, the version shown in Barcelona was also shown in Madrid, but I could not find any information as for whether the film was shown there in two parts too. It was then noted that the film in the Barcelona edition was 14 acts, with titles by Linares-Rivas, and a female Sopran singer.
Sources: "La Vanguardia", 05/05/1927, Barcelona; "La Vanguardia", 10/05/1927, Barcelona; "La Vanguardia", 15/05/1927, Barcelona, and endless more.
Release date from the “Irish Independent” newspaper. Most likely it was as the version shown in the U.K.
Cutting of this version was done locally by Paul Rothmann (Pseudonym: Paul Reno, sometimes also Paul Rino), and was largely based on the cuts made in the Paramount Roadshow version, though staying away from the Pollock titleing which according to the UFA management had "Communist tendency".
Music conductor in Stuttgart: Martin Niedermayer, and In Wiesbaden: Paul Dessau. The shortened version was then shown the following day on 25 German cities (for example in Berlin at the "UFA Palast am Zoo", for one week only, with music conducted by Otto Härzer). By 28/08/1927 the film was already shown at 50 different German cities.
Accounting the review of Roland Schacht (Psy. Balthasar), the film, lasting only 80 minutes, must have been shown in 35 to 36 frames per second, which sounds illogical. It might be transcription error, and the length should be 100 minutes, giving a more "logical" speed of about 28 frames per second, as noted on a copy of Huppertz' music treated for the second release.
Unlike the original release, this time the music featured only few motives from Gottfried Huppertz’ score. Although there seems to be no existing documents about the exact musical score used with this release, some reviews and newspaper clippings from the Huppertz estate give the following impressions:
Screen credit was still given to Huppertz, but not only to him; According to the "Freiburger Zeitung" of 16/10/1927: "Der Zettel nennt noch Rollen und Namen, die in der jetzigen Fassung fehlen"; meaning the cast and credit list were simply left without change, regardless of the removal of complete sequences which removed characters, or left them unidentifiable.
A print was imported from the U.S. sometime in June or July 1927, directly from Paramount. Agreement papers of Paramount with the Canadian distributor can be found at the Cinémathèque Québécoises.
The Film had some Censorship problems in the Province of Quebeq, being banned on 27/07/1927 for being Communist propaganda. On 01/10/1927 the film was approved after having two cuts made:
It opened in Montreal on 09/10/1927 at the "Palace" Cinema.
sources: "Dictionnaire de la Censure Au Québec: Littérature et Cinéma" (2006), p. 467; https://www.rcq.gouv.qc.ca/Documents/la_regie/Films%20censur%C3%A9s%201927-1936.pdf
Film is reported as 4200m and 14 acts. The “Avion” theater used Gottfried Huppertz’ music, while the “Kapitol” used a compilation score by the theater’s own Karl Hospodsky. The film was shown for two weeks at the “Kapitol”, four weeks at the “Avion”, and then an extra week at the “Wran-Urania-Kino”. It appears that in the city of Stetting the film was shown for some reason in two parts, which cuased complaint by people who were not aware (due to lack of advertisement) that the film is presented in such form.
Originally, “Metropolis” was scheduled to premiere on 16/03/1927 (See: Cinémagazine, Nr. 4, 28/01/1927), but that never happened. One screening took place either in late March or early April when Fritz Lang and Thea von Harbou visited in Paris, and at that screening were several prominent people from the French film industry, most notably, director Abel Gance who reportedly praised Lang for his achievement. It was at that time decided to postpone the film’s release till autumn (Maybe to prevent a clash between “Metropolis” and “Napoleon”?). It should be noted, however, that such postponing of releases was not un-common: Fritz Lang's "Spione" had its Austrian screening on 16/04/1928 for the press, but was eventually released only on 28/08/1928, also without a clear reason.
The film was apparently shown With Huppertz' music, but further research is needed. Film Journals who gave plot synopsis usually discussed about Georgy's visit to Yoshiwara etc. The film was shown at the "L'Imperial" for 3 months, having a short one week revival at the same theater in March 1928.
Source: "Haynt", 23/10/1927
The film was presented in two parts, with the second part premiering on the evening of 16/11/1927. A guess would say that if the film was divided into two parts than maybe it was at the length of the original version, but that is just a guess.
A Communist terror attack that destroyed a factory on 20/11/1927, causing the film to be banned the day after on the ground of it being Communist propaganda (Not surprising as the second part of the film being shown at the time must have consisted of the workers’ uprising and destruction of machines.) In responce the Alhambra theater owner sent the film for assesment in Ankara, where the ban was lifted. The film could then be shown again without needing any revisions, starting 29/11/1927.
Sources: "Türkische post", 09/11/1927; "Türkische post", 16/11/1927; "Türkische post", 22/11/1927; "Türkische post", 23/11/1927; "Scotsman", 29/11/1927
Released in Belgium by ACE.
Was probably the same print as within the U.K.
Source: "Scotsman", 14/02/1928
Listed as 9 acts.
Source: "Morgunbladid" 17/02/1928
A magazine report about the film from 01/02/1928, gives the plot line for roughly half the film, including notices of Hel, Georgy, the visit to Yoshiwara etc., however, later notices give the length as only 10 reels.
Sources: http://www.teatrosaoluiz.pt/gca/?id=21 ; "Ilustração", Nr. 51, 01/02/1928
The film had a short run starting Late February, and then suddenly was banned without explanation (Unlike in Turkey, where official reason was given). The film was than re-released in mid-April. In this release Freder's name was changed to Max.
Sources: "Prager Tagblatt" 02/03/1928; "Nieuwe Rotterdamsche Courant", 06/03/1928;"Scotsman", 07/03/1928; "Prager Tagblatt" 13/04/1928
Release is based on the “Pollock” cut. The print reached South Africa from the U.K.
Eckardt, Michael, "Zur Rezeption des Spielfilms der Weimarer Republik in Südafrika 1928 – 1933", 2007
Release is based on the “Pollock” cut. The print reached Australia from the U.K.
Source: "Luxemburger Tageblatt" 07/04/1928 and 13/04/1928
Unlike some reports, it doesn’t seem like a special import as the distributor “Cinematográfica Terra”, headed by Adolfo Z. Wilson had been the official representatives of UFA in Argentina.
Sources: Motion-picture Almanac (1936); Metropolis Found by Fernando Martín Peña.
According to Michael Organ, who visited and saw a Nitrate copy of the film held in New-Zealand, the version shown there was based on the “Pollock cut”.
“Cinematográfica Terra” which released "Metropolis" in Argentina was the distributor also in Uruguay, with premiere orgenized by Bernardo Glucksmann.
Source: Duarte, Jacinto A., Dos siglos de publicidad en la historia del Uruguay: desde la fundación de Montevideo, 1726-1952, (Montevideo, 1952)
Sao Paulo showings followed on 10/12/1928.
Sourece: "The Straits Times", 27/11/1928
It was shown for about a week, and then additional 3 days (due to “public demand”). Later it was shown in Jerusalem ,and in January 1929 for a few days in Haifa, after which the print was shipped back abroad (No country of origin is named).
Source: "Davar", 07/12/1928
As far as I could understand from a Japanese website (which unfortunately no longer exists) using automatic translation: The film was to premiere much earlier, but then UFA closed its Japanese branch. The film was eventually released in Japan by Paramount. According to a website, which I read but not located again, the film was presented with traditional Japanese music. I could not find if a Benshi was used.
“Metropolis” must have been popular in Japan, which would explain why the 1934 film “Gold” (with Hans Albers and Brigitte Helm) was named in Japan “Cosmopolis”
This is, as far as I can tell, the shortest print of Metropolis to be shown in the 1920’s.
Source was: www.kaibida.jp/metp/m_nenpyo.html
Source: Unknown newspaperclipping
All I could find is an incomplete clipping from the "Mercurio Peruano".
According to Forrest Ackerman, he heard from someone of a print in China that had footage of Chinese farmers spliced into the sequence showing the slaves of Babel. Heard nothing of the film in China other than that, so even if I assume this information to be true, I have no idea if this was done in the 1920’s or later.
According to conversation of Michael Organ with Vladimir Dmitriev of the Gosfilmofond, the film wasn’t shown in the U.S.S.R until the mid 1960’s. Additional information from the documentary "Die Reise nach Metropolis" (Artem Demenok, ARTE, 12/02/2010).
Last update: 24/10/2013