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Section 9: Posters, Lobby Cards, Postcards

Part 1: 1927-8


Introduction

Metropolis is a film full of spectacular imagery - the robot, cityscape, the workers, and the machines all provided material for the promotional artists of the day, given the task of selling the film to a contemporary audience. As a result, Metropolis is well served by posters, window cards and lobby cards, the majority produced by Ufa and Paramount in association with the film's initial release during 1927-8. Some of this material is reproduced below, along with production details (where known), size, and current value. A table at the bottom of this page describes the various types of posters produced during the silent period, and the terminology applied.

The most notable of the Metropolis posters is the original three-sheet Schulz-Neudamm image, bearing the head of the robot starring blankly out at the viewer, and framed by a background tall skyscrapers and distinctive art deco lettering. Though originally ephemeral items, these posters are now highly prized amongst collectors and art galleries, rezognized as fine examples of poster art, with elements of the German Expressionist movement and Art Deco evident.

Part 1 of this listing covers the period from the film's initial release in 1927. Included in Part 2 are references to posters produced subsequent to the initial release, and most specifically during 1984-5 in association with the Georgio Moroder version of the film, along with more recent reproductions of original posters from the 1920s and 1930s, plus adaptations. The posters are arranged roughly chronologically in both parts, though in the Part 1 a division is also made according to country of release, viz. Germany, France, the United States and Belgium.


1a. UFA , three sheet poster, 36 ½ x 83 inches (96 x 211 cm), colour lithograph, Designer - Heinz Schulz-Neudamm, Berlin, 1927. Issued in connection with the film's initial Berlin release on 10 January 1927. Reproduced in Edwards (1988). Features the head of Rotwang's robot, with a background of an idealised Metropolis cityscape. A number of variants and modern reprints of this poster exist (see below). A full-size reprint became available during 1999 from Art.Com for US$1,100.



1. UFA, 36 ½ x 83 inches (96 x 211 cm), colour lithograph, Designer - Heinz Schulz-Neudamm, Printer - Paul Grasnick, Berlin. International version of the famous poster (1a). Collection: Österreichische Nationalbibliothek, Wien, (Austrian National Library, Vienna). Reference: Das Ufa-Plakat. Filmpremieren 1918-1933, Herausgegeben von Peter Mänz und Christian Maryska, Edition Braus, Heidelberg, 1998.



2. UFA, three sheet poster, 36 ½ x 83 inches (96 x 211 cm), Berlin, 1927. Publicises the film's showing at the UFA-Pavillon. Reproduced in Edwards (1988). This poster features the head of Maria strapped into Rotwang's transformation machine. It formed the basis for a number of overseas variants.



3. UFA, three sheet poster, 36 ½ x 83 inches (96 x 211 cm), Berlin, 1927.



4. UFA, three sheet poster, 36 ½ x 83 inches (96 x 211 cm), colour lithograph, Designer - Werner Graul, Printer - Plakatkunstdruck Eckert, Berlin. International version of the famous poster (2a). Collection: Österreichische Nationalbibliothek, Wien. Reference: Das Ufa-Plakat. Filmpremieren 1918-1933, Herausgegeben von Peter Mänz und Christian Maryska, Edition Braus, Heidelberg, 1998.


5. UFA poster , 36 ½ x 55 ½ inches (95 x 141.4 cm), Designer - Unknown, colour lithograph, Printer - Unknown, Berlin. Colllection: Österreichische Nationalbibliothek, Wien (Austrian National Library, Vienna). Reference: Das Ufa-Plakat. Filmpremieren 1918-1933, Herausgegeben von Peter Mänz und Christian Maryska, Edition Braus, Heidelberg, 1998. This poster was also used to advertise the Ufa-Plakat exhibition which took place during 1998-9.


6. UFA, 49 ½ x 73 inches (126 x 187 cm), colour lithograph, Designer - Schmidt, Printer - Unknown, Vienna. Collection: Österreichische Nationalbibliothek, Wien. Reference: Das Ufa-Plakat. Filmpremieren 1918-1933, Herausgegeben von Peter Mänz und Christian Maryska, Edition Braus, Heidelberg, 1998.


7. Metropolis, UFA poster, Designer - Jósef Bottlik, Berlin, 1927. Designed for the release of the film in Hungary.


8. Metropolis, UFA poster, 23 ½ by 37 inches (60 x 94 cm), Österreichische Nationalbibliothek, Vienna.


9. Metropolis pressbook cover, UFA / Parufamet, Berlin, 1927.


10. 'Metropolis', designer - Boris Konstantinovitch Bilinsky (1900-1948), 4 Sheet Poster, colour lithograph, 96 x 120 inches (224 x 303.5 cm), Farblithografie, Bédos et Cie, Paris, 1927. Collection of Staatliche Museen Preußischer Kulturbesitz / Kunstbibliothek, Berlin. Illustrated Neumann (1997). Reference: Das Ufa-Plakat. Filmpremieren 1918-1933, Herausgegeben von Peter Mänz und Christian Maryska, Edition Braus, Heidelberg, 1998. A reprint was sold during the Ufa-Plakat exhibition in Berlin and Los Angeles, 1998 and 1999. A modern reprint of this Bilinsky poster is for sale at: Panorama-Berlin. Boris Bilinsky designed 3 other different posters for the French distribution of Metropolis. A reproduction and description of these posters, along with additional material and a brief biography, is to be found at the Boris Bilinsky French Posters page.


11. 'Metropolis', Window Card, 14 x 22 inches, Paramount / UFA, New York, 1927. Offered at Christies, New York, 'Hollywood Posters III' auction, 14 December 1992, lot 79 (illustrated). Sold for US$26,400.


12. 'Metropolis', Window Card, 14 x 22 inches, Paramount / UFA, New York, 1927.


 

12/1. Paramount, Lobby Card, 11 x 14 inches, New York, 1927.


12/2. Paramount, Lobby Card, 11 x 14 inches (27.9 x 35.6 cm), New York, 1927.


12/3. Paramount, Lobby Card, 11 x 14 inches (27.9 x 35.6 cm), New York, 1927.


13. 'Metropolis', Paramount, Insert, 36 x 14 inches (91.4 x 35.6 cm), New York, 1927. Sold at Sothebys, New York, Stanley Caiden Collection, 12 September 1992, item 303.


14. Paramount, Lobby Card, 11 x 14 inches, New York, 1936-7 re-release. Features Freder holding an exhausted Georgie in front of the Paternoster machine. This is one of a series of eight such cards, monochrome reproductions of which are to be found in the Paramount Metropolis Press Book. Also available as a reprint - Giclee print on archival paper, 24 x 36 inches, from Art.Com.


15. 'Metropolis' Herald, 6 x 9 inches (opened), Paramount, New York, 1927. Small promotional item. Sold at Chrities, New York, 'Hollywood Posters' auction, 14 June 1993, lot 240 (illustrated). A copy from the Isis Theatre, Lockney, Texas (Monday - Tuesday), sold on eBay September 2000. Internal design similar to Paramount promotional glass slide (see below).


16. Metropolis, glass slide, no date, 3 1/4 x 4 inches. Glass slide advertisement for the screening of Metropolis in Jackson on Thursday, 31st October and Friday, 1st November. These dates suggest that the screening dates from 1929 or 1935. Image based on that contained in original Herald (above).


17a. Metropolis - Paramount Press Sheet - showing set of 8 lobby cards plus inserts and assorted posters.



18. Metropolis - Balkan Film poster, Zagreb, Czechoslovakia, circa 1927. Poster design by Peter Kokjancic.


19. Metropolis - Swedish poster, 1927.


20. Paramount, Trade advertisement, 1927. Illustrated in R.V. Borst, Graven Images, 1992.


21. Metropolis, Belgian Poster, 24 x 33 inches, 1927. Advertising the screening of Metropolis at the Tokio Theatre, Belgium, December 1927. Text in French. Offered at Christies, New York, 'Hollywood Posters VI' auction, 5 December 1994, lot 187 (illustrated). Sold for US$19,550. A modern, high quality lithographic reproduction (size 42 x 53 inches) is also available at galaxyart.com (February 2000).


22. UFA, Metropolis - Postcard Series, 3 ½ by 5 ½ inches, Verlag "Ross", Berlin, 1927. Twelve different cards are known. A set was sold at the PosterConnection, San Francisco sale of 13 May 2000. Individual cards identified include:

  1. Maria and Children
  2. Freder and Pleasure Girl near Fountain
  3. Moloch Machine
  4. Freder and Maria Embrace
  5. Joh Fredersen, Robot and Rotwang
  6. Rotwang and Transformation Machine
  7. Freder on step in Rotwang's house
  8. Whore of Babylon
  9. Evil Maria
  10. Flood Scene
  11. Grot and Evil Maria
  12. Evil Maria on Pyre

22/1. UFA, Metropolis - Maria and children, Postcard, Verlag "Ross", Berlin, 1927.


22/2. UFA, Metropolis - Freder walks from fountain towards Maria, casting aside the Pleasure Girl. Postcard, Verlag "Ross", Berlin, 1927. Card bears signature of Gustav Froelich.


22/3. UFA, Metropolis - Moloch Machine, Postcard, Verlag "Ross", Berlin, 1927.


22/4. UFA, Metropolis - Freder and Maria embrace, Postcard, Verlag "Ross", Berlin, 1927.


22/6. UFA, Metropolis - Rotwang and the Transformation Machine, Postcard, Verlag "Ross", Berlin, 1927.


22/7. UFA, Metropolis - Freder on step in Rotwang's house, Postcard, Verlag "Ross", Berlin, 1927.


22/8. UFA, Metropolis - Evil Maria as the Whore of Babylon, riding upon the 7 Headed Serpent in Yoshiwara, Postcard, Verlag "Ross", Berlin, 1927.


22/9. UFA, Metropolis - Evil Maria, Postcard, Verlag "Ross", Berlin, 1927.


22/10. UFA, Metropolis - Flood Scene. Postcard, Verlag "Ross", Berlin, 1927.


22/11. UFA, Metropolis - Grot grabs the false Maria and drags her towards the burning pyre. Postcard, Verlag "Ross", Berlin, 1927.


22/12. UFA, Metropolis - Evil Maria on Pyre, Postcard, Verlag "Ross", Berlin, 1927.


Go to Part 2: 1962-2000.

Sizes

A variety of poster, window card and lobby card sizes exists from the silent film era, though there are approximate standards and terminologies now applied. The following summary table is adapted from information provided at Bruce Hershenson's Vintage Movie Film Posters web site.

Size
Dimensions
Notes
24 Sheet
20 x 9 feet
Billboard poster
12 Sheet
96 x 120 inches
Half Billboard
Six Sheet
81 x 82 inches
-
British Three Sheet
85 x 40 inches
-
Three Sheet
81 x 41 inches
-
French
63 x 47 inches
-
German / Italian
55 x 39 inches
-
One Sheet
41 x 27 inches
US One Sheet, Australian One Sheet
British Quad
40 x 30 inches
-
Insert
36 x 14 inches
-
Belgian
33 x 22 inches
-
Australian Daybill / Insert
30 x 13 inches
-
Jumbo Window Card
28 x 22 inches
-
Half Sheet
22 x 28 inches
-
Window Card
22 x 14 inches
-
Jumbo Lobby Card
14 x 17 inches
Made in sets of 8
Lobby Card
11 x 14 inches
Made in sets of 8
Title Lobby Card
11 x 14 inches
Card shows credits
Spanish Lobby Card
10 x 14 inches
-

Go to Part 2: 1984-2000 for a listing of posters and related material associated with the Moroder version and other modern reissues of Metropolis.

Last updated: 24 February 2011.


Metropolis Bibliography - Introduction Metropolis Bibliography - Books, Articles and Manuscripts Metropolis Bibliography - Internet Web Sites Metropolis Bibliography - Artwork, Posters and Photographs Metropolis Bibliography - Music Metropolis Bibliography - Film Metropolis Bibliography - Videos, Quicktime, DVD Metropolis Bibliography - Reviews 1927 Metropolis Bibliography - Australia 1928 Metropolis Bibliography - Posters