Metropolis – The famous alternative silent film is being shot in Babelsberg

A 1927 German expressionist science-fiction drama film directed by Fritz Lang. Written by Thea von Harbou in collaboration with Lang, it stars Gustav Fröhlich, Alfred Abel, Rudolf Klein-Rogge, and Brigitte Helm.

The silent film is regarded as a pioneering science-fiction movie, being among the first feature-length movies of that genre. The film architects Otto Hunte, Erich Kettelhut and Karl Vollbrecht were responsible for drafting and designing the models for the utopian city. At least 500 models of skyscrapers with up to 70 floors were built.

Entrance to the Babelsberg Studios / Image:

In the technocratic giant city of Metropolis, workers and the upper class live completely isolated from one another. Workers are considered inferior and have to vegetate and live in cramped mass accommodation in the depths of the earth, where there is neither sun nor joy. But the rich and powerful reside high above the ground of Metropolis.

Babelsberg Studios, Marlene-Dietrich-Halle in the 50s / Bundesarchiv – Image sourse

The story concerns a forbidden love between Freder (Gustav Fröhlich), a young man from the industrialist class, and Maria (Brigitte Helm), an activist who preaches against the divide between the two classes. The subterfuge and deceit involving a robot duplicate of Maria culminate in a revolution that quickly spells disaster for all involved.

Erich Pommer produced it in the Babelsberg Studios for Universum Film A.G. (UFA). In 1926, the largest film studio in Europe to date was built specifically for the production of Metropolis. The then so-called “Great Hall”, designed by the architect Carl Stahl-Urach, today it is known under the name “Marlene Dietrich-Halle”.

                                                       Featured Image: Machine Maria statue in the Babelsberg Film Park / Image source


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