Metropolis: An Historical and Political Analysis

Drummond, Ann J (1987) Metropolis: An Historical and Political Analysis. MLitt(R) thesis, University of Glasgow.

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Abstract

This thesis takes Fritz Lang's Metropolis as a case study for an historical and political analysis of film. It involves a detailed examination of the culture and society in which the film was made, and, it is argued, a political reading should be based primarily on such an analysis of the historical context of the film's production. There are three main parts to this study. The first section deals with the production history of Metropolis, and includes the role played by its production company, Ufa, and the position of the indigenous film industry within a wider economic context. The post-production history of the film charts the various changes which have been made to the film since its initial release in January 1927. Archival documents have been used wherever possible, and in particular, the censorship card has been a valuable source of information about the original version of the film. The second section attempts to locate Metropolis within the cultural context of the Weimar period, particularly in relation to Expressionism, an ongoing romantic tradition in Germany, and other influences such as Americanism, the city and technology. The response of the critics both at home and in the English-speaking market is assessed, as is the reaction of the audience at the premiere. The allegation by some post-war critics that Die Nibelungen and Metropolis reveal latent fascist tendencies is examined in detail, and is dismissed as being on balance unjustified, given the case for a more plausible location of the film's politics along the broad spectrum of the Christian Centre/Social Democracy. The final chapters, in which certain key themes have been taken as the basis for a political interpretation of the film, deal with the close analysis of the text itself. The method used in this section involves a continuous oscillation between the film itself and its historical context. Thus industry and class, revolution, the family/women/sexuality, and religion are each examined as they are represented in the text, and interpreted in light of their respective positions within Weimar culture and politics.

Item Type: Thesis (MLitt(R))
Qualification Level: Masters
Keywords: Film studies
Date of Award: 1987
Depositing User: Enlighten Team
Unique ID: glathesis:1987-76665
Copyright: Copyright of this thesis is held by the author.
Date Deposited: 19 Nov 2019 13:56
Last Modified: 19 Nov 2019 13:56
URI: http://theses.gla.ac.uk/id/eprint/76665

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