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Stars: Gustav Fröhlich, Brigitte Helm, Alfred Abel, Rudolf Klein-Rogge, Fritz Rasp, Theodor Loos, Heinrich George, Erwin Biswanger

Director: Fritz Lang

Lang's amazing silent-film view of the future, with 25 minutes of recently discovered new footage, and a new recording of the original thunderous score, driving the narrative along even more effectively.

Some of the new material, all grainy compared to the rest, represents important additions; other snippets add little to the film. The fight between the villain and the hero's father remains mostly lost, but otherwise this is pretty close to the director's original release vision (although the German premiere print ran 210 minutes!).

In a mechanised city of the far future, the upper classes dally and cavort in luxury, while the workers toil below to keep the city moving, labouring in 10-hour shifts that reduce them to exhausted wrecks. Their resentment is kept in check by the 'angel' Maria (Helm), with whom the patrician hero (Fröhlich) - his dad (Abel) is head of the city - has fallen in love.

But subversive forces are at work, not least the mad scientist Rotwang (Klein-Rogge), who has created a robot women and, as a 'fake' Maria, plans to use it to turn the workers violently and conclusively against their masters,

The sets and vision are just amazing for 1926, and the pacing is excellent throughout, given that this is a silent and requires an (admittedly sparing) number of intertitles. Only a little patience is required to enjoy.

David Quinlan

Germany 1926. UK Distributor: Eureka Video. Black and white.
149 minutes. Not widescreen. UK certificate: PG.

Guidance ratings (out of 3): Sex/nudity 0, Violence/Horror 0, Drugs 0, Swearing 0.

Review date: 04 Sep 2010