London After Midnight is a lost film, not the only lost film by any means, but a rather famous one amongst a certain subsection of fans - fans of Lon Chaney Sr, and of classic horror movies. Every April 1, there usually appears at least one story saying that footage of the movie has been found in some collector's vault.
Well, something of almost the same nature has now occurred for real - almost 27 missing minutes from the classic German science fiction movie Metropolis have been found - in the collection of a film museum in Buenos Aires, Argentina.
Or, to be more accurate - a complete print of the film, with those 27 minutes still in it - has been found.
It remains to be seen when the new footage will undergo restoration - and apparently there are scratches on the film that will remain even after this is done - and once it has undergone restoration, how long it will take before the new version will be released on DVD.
Among the footage that has now been discovered, according to the unanimous opinion of the three experts that ZEITmagazin asked to appraise the pictures, there are several scenes which are essential in order to understand the film: The role played by the actor Fritz Rasp in the film for instance, can finally be understood. Other scenes, such as for instance the saving of the children from the worker's underworld, are considerably more dramatic. In brief: "Metropolis, Fritz Lang’s most famous film, can be seen through new eyes.", as stated by Rainer Rother, Director of the Deutsche Kinemathek Museum and head of the series of retrospectives at the Berlinale.
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Key scenes rediscovered