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French Novelisation 1928

Cover of the 96 page French novelisation of Metropolis, Paris, 1928. This work is an adaptation of Fritz Lang's original film and Thea von Harbou's novelisation.

The initial scenario for Metropolis was developed by Thea von Harbou and Fritz Lang during the first half of 1924. The actual script was then refined and adapted by the pair throughout 1925-6, as filming took place. It is unclear as to precisely when Thea von Harbou completed the manuscript for the novel of Metropolis, however it was published in Berlin at the end of 1926 by A. Scherl, in an edition of 273 pages with dustjacket art by Walter Reimann. A paperback edition also appeared, with a lithographic image of Maria in the transformatoin machine helmet. Various edtions appeared shortly thereafter, including an English-language version published under the imprint of the Readers Library Publishing Company, London. Thea von Harbou's original novelisation of Metropolis comprises 25 chapters and is described in more detail at the Metropolis Novel / Roman 1926 page.

During 1928 a novelisaiton of the film was published in Paris in association with the film's French release. This novelisaiton made no reference to Thea von Harbou on the cover, though this was addressed on the title page, which read as follows:

Thea von Harbou, Metropolis. Traduit et adaptéde l'Allemand par Alin Laubreaux et Sèrge Plaute. Préface par Jules Romains, illustré d'après le film A.C.E., 3f.50, Librairie Gallimard, Le Cinéma Romanesque 2, 3 Rue de Grenelle, Paris, 1928, 96p.

[Thea von Harbou, Metropolis. Translated and adapted from the German by Alin Laubreaux and Sèrge Plaute. Preface by Jules Romains, illustrations from the Alliance Cinématographique Européenne (A.C.E.) film. 3f.50, Librairie Gallimard, Le Cinéma Romanesque 2, 3 Rue de Grenelle, Paris, 1928, 96p.]

This French version of Metropolis varies substantially from Thea von Harbou's novel, and appears to be based on the original film as premiered in Berlin on 10 January 1927. The novel makes reference to many of the scenes subsequently excised from the film by the American team under Channing Pollock. These include the HEL monument encounter between Joh Fredersen and Rotwang and all references to HEL, and the various episodes in Josaphat's apartment involving Slim, Freder and Josaphat. As such, this French novelisation is a significant resource in onoging attempts to reconstruct the film as Fritz Lang originally conceived and presented it during 1926-7.

A brief description of the book and its content is given below. This table should be compared with the breakdown of Thea von Harbou's novel as presented in the Novel / Roman 1926 page of this web site, and with those of the actual film as contained in the Scene & Intertitle Listing pages. A more fuller description of the contents of the French novelisation will be given pending the availability of a translation in English.

A copy of the novel, in 3 PDF files, is available at the following locations:

Part 1 (pages 1-33) | Part 2 (pages 34-68) | Part 3 (pages 69-96) |


Metropolis - French Novel 1928 - Chapter Summary

Chapter

Page

Title / Contents

I

9

Les jardins éternels [The Eternal Gardens].

II

13

Freder

III

16

Joh Fredersen

IV

23

Josephat

V

25

Georgi

VI

30

Yoshiwara

VII

34

Rottwang

VIII

39

Parodie [Parody]

IX

44

Maria

X

51

Le monstre [The Monster]

XI

54

Le "11-811"

XII

61

La victime

XIII

63

Désespoir [Desperation]

XIV

68

Fièvre [Fever]

XV

72

La révolte [The Revolution]

XVI

77

Alarme [Alarm]

XVII

80

L'assault [The Assault]

XVIII

82

La catastrophe

XIX

84

Lueur d'espoir [Glimmer of hope]

XX

90

L'Enfer [The Underworld]

XXI

92

Le bûcher [The Funeral Pyre]

XXII

93

Folie [Madness]

-

95

Réveil [Awakening]

-

96

Fin [End]

Last updated: 7 February 2012.


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