Movie Talk A Discussion area for everything movie related including films In The Theaters

Metropolis - Flub or Sociological Difference?

Old 03-01-03, 10:55 AM
  #1  
DVD Talk Special Edition
Thread Starter
 
Join Date: Oct 2001
Location: Portland OR
Posts: 1,179
Metropolis - Flub or Sociological Difference?

One of the first images we see in Fritz Lang's Metropolis is the 10-hour clock face, ticking off the minutes of the underground society's work shift. This is also one of the first indicators to the viewer that Metropolis is a city in the future: something familiar to us has been altered. The workers' lives are governed by this clock: 10 hours working, 10 hours off, 10 hours working, 10 hours off.

But, later in the movie, when we see Joh Fredersen look at his wristwatch, we get a shot of the watch with a 12-hour face. I think the only other time we see any other clock is when Joh is talking to the work foreman on the videophone, which has 10-hour clockfaces on it.

Is the wristwatch scene a flub? It's not really important for us to know what the actual time is when Joh looks at his watch. Or are the 10-hour and 12-hour clockface differences another comment on the differences of the underground and upper city societies? After all, to an underground society, day and night have no meaning, giving more impact that these people's lives are ruled by this clock. What matters is the work shift. Or did Joh Fredersen change the time measurement system for the underground and get twelve hours of work per shift, but the workers think they're doing ten? As Freder Fredersen takes a shift at the machine, he asks if the ten hour work shift is ever going to end. That's most likely attributed to the continuous hard work that Freder is not used to, but if he's actually working twelve hours, his biological clock would tell him that it seems longer than ten hours. And if the workers are on a different time system, whether it's 10-hour shifts or a recalibrated 12-hour shift, Joh would need that measurement when communicating with the foremen on his videophone.

Probably a flub, but a flub with meaning.

Last edited by RKillgore; 03-01-03 at 10:59 AM.
RKillgore is offline  
Old 03-01-03, 12:11 PM
  #2  
DVD Talk Gold Edition
 
Join Date: Sep 1999
Posts: 2,041
Interesting question. In which chapter is the wrist watch scene?
audrey is offline  
Old 03-01-03, 12:16 PM
  #3  
DVD Talk Special Edition
 
Join Date: Oct 2000
Posts: 1,851
Look again. The ten hour clock represents the length of the workers shift. Just above that clock there is a smaller 24 hour clock.
greatjedi is offline  
Old 03-01-03, 12:43 PM
  #4  
DVD Talk Special Edition
Thread Starter
 
Join Date: Oct 2001
Location: Portland OR
Posts: 1,179
In chapter 15, when Joh is in Rotwang's study. But as greatjedi pointed out the smaller 24-hour clock, it means the wristwatch is not a flub. Plus, the 10 increment gauges on the videophone are not clocks but are used to dial.

Last edited by RKillgore; 03-01-03 at 12:56 PM.
RKillgore is offline  
Old 03-01-03, 01:08 PM
  #5  
DVD Talk Special Edition
 
Join Date: Oct 2000
Posts: 1,851
RKillgore, I think you still have a valid point in that the worker's lives are ruled by the clock.

It's the ten hour clock that is large. That is what the workers would look at. The Smaller 24 hour clock is almost unnoticable. I think that the fact that it's a 24 hour clock and not a 12 hour clock is significant. Ten hours on a 12 hour clock look a heck of a lot longer than they do on a 24 hour clock.

I guess it also shows that the work never stops in the workers' city. They keep the place going 24 hours a day. That's probably what Lang was trying to show, but it's very open to interpretation.
greatjedi is offline  
Old 03-02-03, 02:27 PM
  #6  
DVD Talk Platinum Edition
 
Join Date: Feb 2000
Location: Washington, DC
Posts: 3,071
mostly, what lang is showing, is the depersonalizing effect of technology. everything becomes the same, monotonous thing. human beings are merely the cogs of the machine. there is a specific role for each individual. when one cog gets out of place, the whole mechanism breaks down.

or, at least, that's what i learned this term when we studied it!
-di doctor-
DrRingDing is offline  
Old 03-02-03, 03:54 PM
  #7  
DVD Talk Special Edition
 
Join Date: Oct 2000
Posts: 1,851
Sure. You get a little education, and suddenly you have all the answers. j/k

Good point. I wish that my pre 1950's film course had gone more in depth with German Expressionism. We watched The Cabinet of Dr. Caligari, and talked about set design and that's about it. There's sooooo much more than that. German Expressionism deserves an entire course all it's own (as does Italian neorealism, French Impressionism, etc).
greatjedi is offline  

Posting Rules
You may not post new threads
You may not post replies
You may not post attachments
You may not edit your posts

BB code is On
Smilies are On
[IMG] code is On
HTML code is On
Trackbacks are Off
Pingbacks are Off
Refbacks are Off


Thread Tools
Search this Thread

Archive Advertising Cookie Policy Privacy Statement Terms of Service

Copyright 2018 MH Sub I, LLC dba Internet Brands. All rights reserved. Use of this site indicates your consent to the Terms of Use.