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Book Title: Metropolis|
The author of the book: Thea von Harbou
Date of issue: July 30th 2013
ISBN 13: 9781491215296
Format files: PDF
The size of the: 4.41 MB
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Reader ratings: 3.4
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In the literature of Science Fiction, there is no more an underappreciated and ignored piece of writing than Thea Von Harbou's magnificent Metropolis. The book, a novelization of the screenplay the author wrote for her husband Fritz Lang's film masterpiece of the same name, was a clever marketing move since the sales of one would drive the sales of the other. Yet the two existed as independent works of art. That proved true only too briefly.
Something happened soon after the film premiered. The film studio made drastic and clumsy cuts that made the plot impossible to follow. Censors, exhibitors and distributors further slashed the film to under 90 minutes from it's original length of 153 minutes. Consequently the film's reputation for unprecedented spectacle and imagination was forged by it's transcendent and timeless visual beauty. And Von Harbou's novel was largely dismissed as an informational bridge between the film's original storyline ans the multiple butchered versions.
Unfortunately, that has been the way the book has been shelved for most of it's publishing history. But the book has a life and a shelf of it's own. If the film had never come to be made, this book would still offer a fascinating and emotionally powerful reading experience. We see the stark thematic contrasts between light and dark, God and Satan, the saintly Maria and the demonic Rotwang, the conflicts between starry dreams and manual labor, between steamy pump rooms and airplanes ferrying through bright high rise avenues. We also see romantic love and it's mechanical counterfeits, a fictional aspect of the novel that has become eerily true in the age of technosexual robots.
The novel has always stood on it's own as a work of art, a work of romantic notions and hard experience, exploring the limits of thinking or clubbing our way out of life's most horrific challenges. The novel offers a possible resolution: The mediator between brain and muscle must be the heart. Words that ring eternally true.
-From the preface by Eddie Vega
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Read information about the authorThea Gabriele von Harbou was a prolific German author and screenwriter, best known today for writing the screenplay of the silent film epic Metropolis (1927). She published over forty books, including novels, children’s books, and collections of short stories, essays, poems, and novellas.
For the German film industry, she wrote or collaborated on more than seventy screenplays in the silent and sound era. At one time, she was the highest-paid screenwriter in Germany.
She married three times: first to actor Rudolph Klein-Rogge, who played leading roles in many of her films, second to film director Fritz Lang, and third to Indian journalist and patriot Ayi Tendulkar. She had no children of her own.
In spite of her extraordinary success in the male-dominated film industry, she was no feminist. Her biographer Reinhold Keiner confirms, “She herself was 'a pretty explicit opponent of that flow, in which the women open up areas in which they . . . do not belong, and they close the areas where they could be queens.'” However, she lived the life of a career woman, and the women in her novels and films are usually strong-willed, self-sacrificing women called upon to rescue and redeem the men in their lives.
Thea showed an interest in writing from an early age and sold her first short story at the age of nine and her first novel at the age of fifteen.
Against her family’s wishes, she enrolled in the School of Performing Arts at the Düsseldorf Playhouse when she was seventeen, and for the next six years she pursued a successful career as a stage actor while she continued to publish stories and novels. Her last repertory season was at the State Theatre in Aachen, where Rudolph-Klein Rogge was the leading man and director. In August 1914, they married, and she turned her attention full-time to writing.
In 1919, director-producer Joe May hired her to collaborate on the screenplay of her story “The Legend of St. Simplicity” as a vehicle for his actor wife Mia May. That film’s success then led May to hire her to collaborate with Fritz Lang on an epic adaptation of her 1918 novel The Indian Tomb, which May directed. That collaboration with Lang initiated a thirteen-year creative partnership that produced some of the best-known films of the Weimar cinema, including Dr. Mabuse, The Nibelungen, Metropolis, Woman in the Moon, and the early sound film M—Murderers Among Us.
She and Lang divorced in 1933, but she continued to work in the German film industry. Some of her noteworthy sound films include her superb 1937 adaptation of von Kleist’s comedy The Broken Jug (Der zerbrochene Krug), the 1938 suspense film Covered Tracks (Verwehte Spuren), and the 1941 sentimental drama Annelie.
In 1941, she joined the Nazi party to gain political leverage to aid the cause of Indians working to overturn British rule in India. After the war, the British then interned her in the Staumül prison camp, where she was “de-Nazified” and cleared of any anti-Semitic activities. She was allowed to return to the film industry in 1948.
Following her appearance as a guest speaker at a Berlin film festival in 1954, she was injured in a fall and died two days later.
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