By Leonard Maltin | Leonard Maltin September 11, 2013 at 3:03PM
A friend recently sent along a link, posted last year, to a 1927 article about the making of Fritz Lang’s Metropolis from a 1927 issue of Science and Invention. As this was new to me, and fascinating, I felt honor bound to pass it on to you. Metropolis may have been a financial albatross for UFA but it definitely attracted attention for its futuristic design and innovative visual effects. I daresay it will always be considered modern.
Scientific magazines frequently turned their attention to motion pictures in the 1920s and '30s, as when Popular Mechanics ran a 1930 cover story on a floating theater that screened films along the canals of Holland! Later that decade the magazine published the only known documentation of cartoon producer Max Fleischer’s tabletop 3-D filming process. These are but two examples of many.
Still, Metropolis is the magnet that drew—and continues to draw—a uniquely intense level of curiosity. That’s because, in spite of today’s prodigious use of CGI, no one has ever put so much imagination and sheer mechanical ingenuity into one film. The explanatory illustrations from Science and Invention are no less interesting today than they were in 1927.