This chapter describes the making of Metropolis, which Lang envisioned as the “costliest and most ambitious picture ever” made in Europe, with thousands of extras, huge sets, special effects that would outshine anything previously attempted. Shooting started on May 22, 1925 and it premiered on January 10, 1927, before a distinguished audience that included Chancellor Wilhelm Marx, several cabinet officers, members of the diplomatic corps, and “the foremost figures of Berlin in society, art, and literature,” according to a contemporary report in the New York Times. The film, however, was panned by critics. Producers subsequently yanked it from theaters; its running time was cut down from two-and-a-half-hours to two-hours before being re-released widely throughout Germany in August, eight months after its January premiere.
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