The newly-restored 153-minute version of Fritz Lang's Metropolis is among the treats that will play at the 14th annual Fantasia International Film Festival in Montreal. As many have already heard, the complete version of the film was discovered in 2008 at the Museo del Cine in Buenos Aires, including about 25 minutes (1257 shots) of footage that was thought lost. It will screen July 28 in the 3000-seat Wilfred Pelletier theatre in Place des Arts. The silent film composer Gabriel Thibaudeau is writing a new score for the feature, which he will perform live at the screening with a 13-piece orchestra.
Metropolis is one of the most acclaimed and dazzling movies in history, and is still credited for influencing some of today's visual landscapes, but for years it was available in shoddy editions and in public domain. There was even an infamous 1984 edition, produced by Giorgio Moroder, that was released in theaters, butchered all the way down to 80 minutes, tinted, and with a pop music score featuring the likes of Pat Benatar, Jon Anderson, Adam Ant, Billy Squier, Loverboy, Bonnie Tyler and Freddie Mercury. In 2002, a 124-minute version was released to theaters, and then on a sparkling new DVD by Kino. That version used intertitles to fill in the blanks in the story, which -- thankfully -- will no longer be necessary!
Also at Fantasia, the controversial Ken Russell will receive a lifetime achievement award. Russell is perhaps best known for films like Tommy (1975), an adaptation of The Who's rock opera, Altered States (1980), a bizarre and disturbing sci-fi movie; and The Lair of the White Worm (1988), based on a Bram Stoker story. The festival will show Russell's 17th century-set horror film The Devils (1971).
Another lifetime achievement award will go to animators Don Bluth and Gary Goldman, who once worked at Disney and left to start their own independent studio; they even gave Disney a run for its money. Children of the 1980s will remember their classics The Secret of NIMH (1982), An American Tail (1986) and The Land Before Time (1988).
Finally, horror fans will wish to take note that director Stuart Gordon and actor Jeffrey Combs -- of Re-Animator fame -- are presenting their new one-man play: Nevermore: An Evening with Edgar Allan Poe. Never fear, the festival will also be showing Re-Animator for its 25th anniversary. More goodies will be announced soon.