Savant Column

Wednesday September 13, 2017


Gary Teetzel links us to the world today, starting with two Metropolis– themed items. A Smithsonian Magazine article by Matt Novak from 2012 takes a look at a vintage explanation of the film’s effects: 1927 Magazine Looks at Metropolis, ‘A Movie Based On Science’. Then, in Wired Magazine from the same year, Geeta Dyal displays another rare item: Recovered 1927 Metropolis Film Program Goes Behind the Scenes of a Sci-Fi Masterpiece. My only comment is about the method used to create the ‘electric bolts’ in the machine room — the article implies that they were shot live on the set, like a foreground miniature, when they were double-exposed at a later time. Just a detail. The second document was for years the main source of technical info on the film, so it’s nice that it was so carefully written.

Film collector Wade Williams, over at the Home Theater Forum, is saying that he’s contributed a film source to a Warners restoration of the long version of Howard Hawks’ The Thing From Another World, a show long in need of a visual reupholstering job. When the show plays on TCM now, the long-version scenes drop to a low-quality 16mm source. It would be nice if a smart new restoration were indeed on the way, but Williams’ note mostly clouds the issue. He says he loaned his print to WB ten years ago, and recently as three years ago I was told that WB still lacked decent elements with which to ‘fix’ the movie — a collector’s print might or might not be good enough, and WB has pretty high standards. When Williams says the film is ‘newly restored,’ is he saying that something new and unannounced has happened? Only when Warners issues a confirmation will we know.

Thanks for reading! — Glenn Erickson