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Metropolis and Pop Culture

            Released in 1927, "Metropolis" is a silent science-fiction film directed by Fritz Lang, the famous German Expressionist filmmaker. The setting is that of a futuristic dystopia, with soaring skyscrapers, flying cars, and an intricate system of roadways. The city is divided into two distinct halves, the upper class and lower class. More specifically, the thinkers and the workers. The film brings to light the issues between the two sides and how people in society should work in unison rather than seek to control one another. Keeping in mind that this film was made in 1927, it is quite interesting to see how many of the science fiction aspects of the plot are actually pretty accurate in real life. Even more interesting is that only themes, but also imagery from Metropolis are reused almost excessively throughout popular culture. Whether it be in movies or music videos, to this day, we can see that the influence of it certainly lives on. .
             After the release of Metropolis, it became quite routine to see the film's influences on other science fiction films. One of the most famous instances can be seen in Dr. Strangelove thirty-seven years later. Within the film, many aspects of not only Rotwang's appearance, but also his character, are easily spotted. The most famous, and notable, we see in Dr. Strangelove is the black-gloved "mechanical" hand. This image of the mechanical hand is first seen in Metropolis, ad later used as a staple characteristic of villains throughout all movie genres. The character Rotwang's influence extends much further though than that of just a mechanical hand. The image Fritz Lang created in Rotwang is actually extremely influential in the iconography of the "standard" mad scientist. In Metropolis, Rotwang's laboratory is filled with large tesla coils, switch panels, intricate chemical equipment, and pipework. This imagery becomes the "normal" laboratoery look for many later sci-fi films.

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