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Chronology - Production and Initial Release

1924 - 1928

The following chronology outlines the development of Metropolis between 1924 and its premiere during 1927-8. It is based in part on Bernard Eisenschitz's French-language chronology 'Metropolis, La UFA et le Cinema Allemand' published in Metropolis - Un Film de Fritz Lang. Images D'un Tournage, Paris, 1985.

Year Date

Event

1924 24 February 24 February - Premiere of Fritz Lang's Die Nibelungelun - Part 1: Siegfrieds Tod, at the Ufa Palast am Zoo, Berlin, in the presence of the Reich Chancellor Gustav Stresemann.
  c. March Erich Kettelhut states that he first read a version of the script for Metropolis shortly after the Nibelungelun premiere. (Kettelhut Reminiscences, circa 1962) Also, filming of Die Nibelungelun - Part 2: Kriemhilds Rache is completed during March.
  26 April Berlin Premiere of Kriemhilds Rache.
  29 April London premiere of Siegfried, attended by Fritz Lang, Thea von Harbou and Erich Pommer.
  May Fritz Lang and Thea von Harbou travel to Vienna to promote Die Nibelungelun film.
  June Fritz Lang and Thea von Harbou holiday in the Alps near Salzburg. It is announced in the press that they are working on the script for their next production - Metropolis. Von Harbou completes the first draft of the script during this period.
  20 July Ufa announces its production program, stating in Der Film that filming of Thea von Harbou's Metropolis, under the direction of Fritz Lang, will commence in the Autumn.
  2 October Fritz Lang, Erich Pommer and other Ufa officials leave Hamburg on the SS Deutschland for New York and a film study tour of the United States. During the visit, Pommer purchases two Mitchell cameras for use on Metropolis.
  November Fritz Lang leaves the United States to return to Germany. Pommer stays on for a period.
  December Fritz Lang publishes a series of 3 articles in Film-Kurier describing his visit to the United States.
1925 January Filmland publishes a report on Fritz Lang's visit to America.
  March Following the Paris premiere of Nibelungen, it is announced that Fritz Lang will commence work on Metropolis.
  April Ufa announces that the filming of Metropolis will commence at the beginning of May. Ufa also acquires a German license for the Schüfftan film process.
  22 May Shooting on Metropolis starts at Ufa's Neubabelsberg studios near Berlin, involving Andre Mattoni (Freder), Brigitte Helm (Maria) and cameraman Günther Rittau. Mattoni is soon replaced by Gustav Fröhlich. Der Film reports on the use of the Schüfftan process by Fritz Lang.
  25 May Film-Kurier reports on work involved in the construction of the stadium for use with the Schüfftan process. A special issue of the Ufa Magazin includes pictures of the catacombs.
  31 May Der Film further reports on the use of the Schüfftan process by Fritz Lang.
  May The press and politicians, including Reich Minister of State Gustav Stresemann, visit the Ufa studios at Neubabelsburg where Metropolis is being filmed.
  June Ufa announces that Metropolis is to be filmed at the Staaken studios during Autumn. During this month, American boxer Jack Demsey visits the set of Metropolis with Erich Pommer. The sets for the substerranean labyrinth of the catacombs and the main street of the city of Metropolis are completed. Ufa rents Efa studios and the Staaken studios for the production.
  July Filming of scenes in the catacombs with Rudolf Klein-Rogge, Alfred Abel and Brigitte Helm.
  August American film industry representatives visit the set of Metropolis.
  26 September Vorwarts reports on aspects of the filming of Metropolis.
  October Work takes place on construction of the Tower of Babel. The Film-Kurier publishes scenes of the good and evil Maria with the crowd in the catacombs, and reports on the filming of the destruction of the machines and elevators. Also during this month, shooting starts on the scenes in the Yoshiwara nightclub.
  25 November Ufa reports that Fritz Lang is hard at work in the Staaken studios on the scenes in the Metropolis Hall of Machines. In the days to come he will film a scene where Maria destroys the Heart Machine.
  December Shooting of large crowd scenes with Heinrich George and Alfred Abel at the Neubabelsberg studios.
1926 January Shooting of scenes in the cathedral and the belfry with Brigitte Helm, Gustav Fröhlich, Rudolf Klein-Rogge and Alfred Abel at Neubabelsberg. Metropolis producer Erich Pommer leaves Ufa, arising out of the company's financial difficulties. He works in the US for a number of years.
  March Sergei Eisenstein vists Berlin and the set of Metropolis, where he sees Lang filming the 'swinging camera' scene.
  April American director James Cruze sees some of the rushes of Metropolis. He comments in Film-Kurier on how it has influenced plans for his next film, to be based on Karel Capek's R.U.R. (Rossum's Universal Robots].
  May Shooting of the crowd exiting from Yoshiwara and the crowd scenes before the cathedral, including the burning of evil Maria. The Paternoster scenes are also filmed at the Potsdamer Platz during this period.
  June Night exposure for the shooting of the scenes on the roof of the cathedral.
  July Fritz Lang begins the process of editing Metropolis.
  August - September Fritz Lang completes final filming of Metropolis with individual actors and sets. Gottfried Huppertz prepares the musical score. A preprint of the novel Metropolis appears in the Frankfurter Zeitung.
  30 October Shooting and production of Metropolis is completed.
  November Berlin Censor's Office views first cut of Metropolis - 9 reels (4189 metres).
  December Mr Wynne-Jones, Ufa representative in America, takes a copy of Metropolis to Paramount.
1927 10 January World premiere of Metropolis at Ufa Palast am Zoo, Berlin.
  3 March Premiere of the Channing Pollock version of Metropolis at the Rialto theatre, New York.
  August German re-release of an edited version of Metropolis.
  November Metropolis banned in Turkey.
1928 3 March Premiere of Metropolis in Australia.

Site last updated: 24 November 2000.


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