Drive fast on empty streets with nothing in mind except falling in love and not getting arrested*
09 outubro 2011
H.G. Wells on Metropolis, or Wishlist: (Lapham's Quarterly) Future
I have recently seen the silliest film. I do not believe it would be possible to make one sillier. It is called “Metropolis,” it comes from the great Ufa studios in Germany, and the public is given to understand that it has been produced at enormous cost. It gives in one eddying concentration almost every possible foolishness, cliché, platitude, and muddlement about mechanical progress and progress in general, served up with a sauce of sentimentality that is all its own.
It is a German film and there have been some amazingly good German films before they began to cultivate bad work under cover of a protective quota. And this film has been adapted to the Anglo-Saxon taste, and quite possibly it has suffered in the process, but even when every allowance has been made for that, there remains enough to convince an intelligent observer that most of its silliness must be fundamental.
Capek's Robots have been lifted without apology, and that soulless mechanical monster of Mary Shelley's, who has fathered so many German inventions, breeds once more in this confusion. Originality there is none. Independent thought, none; where nobody has imagined for them the authors have simply fallen back on contemporary things. The airplanes that wander about above the great city show no advance on contemporary types, though all that stuff could have been livened up immensely with a few helicopters and vertical and unexpected movements. The motor cars are 1926 models or earlier. I do not think there is a single new idea, a single instance of artistic creation, or even intelligent anticipation, from first to last in the whole pretentious stew. I may have missed some point of novelty, but I doubt it, and this, though it must bore the intelligent man in the audience, makes the film all the more convenient as a gauge of the circles of ideas, the mentality, from which it has proceeded.