Zeit Online reports:
Fritz Lang presented the original version of Metropolis in
in January 1927. The film is set in the futuristic city of Berlin , ruled by Joh Fredersen, whose workers live underground. His son falls in love with a young woman from the worker’s underworld – the conflict takes its course. At the time it was the most expensive German film ever made. It was intended to be a major offensive against Metropolis . However the film flopped with critics and audiences alike. Representatives of the American firm Hollywood considerably shortened and re-edited the film. They oversimplified the plot, even cutting key scenes. The original version could only be seen in Paramount until May 1927 – from then on it was considered to have been lost forever. Those recently viewing a restored version of the film first read the following insert: “More than a quarter of the film is believed to be lost forever.” Berlin
ZEITmagazin has now reconstructed the story of how the film nevertheless managed to survive.
[Thanks to Neil Rest for the link.]