Fritz Lang's iconic 1927 silent film, Metropolis, is set to enter the public domain on January 1, 2023. This is great news for film fans around the world, who will now be able to freely access, view, and enjoy this beloved classic. Metropolis is often considered one of the most influential films of the silent era. Its groundbreaking visual effects, futurism-inspired set design, and compelling story about class struggles and the two-edge sword of technological progress have inspired countless filmmakers throughout the years.
With the film entering the public domain, Metropolis will now be available for filmmakers to use in creating their own projects. Whether it be creating a remake, an homage, or just incorporating clips into a new work, this new availability of the film could lead to some truly inspired works of art.
From Far Out, on Metropolis's influence on 20th- and 21st-century art:
Pushing the silent film era of filmmaking to its absolute limits, Fritz Lang created a futuristic, expressionist world of pointed skyscrapers, jagged industrial buildings and intimidating autonomous robots that suggested an intricate world beyond the celled walls of celluloid. Such is made all the more impressive when considering that no such feat in the realms of cinema had ever been achieved before, particularly not to the extent that Lang succeeded. Creating a near three-hour marvel of science fiction cinema, Metropolis contained all the ambition and scope of a modern-day genre classic.
Inspiring filmmakers and visionaries around the world, Metropolis set the standards by which futuristic films were visualised, judged and appreciated, with Alfred Hitchcock even copying a specific special effect from the film called the Schüfftan process that he would later implement on the film, Blackmail. The vision of Fritz Lang in creating the ethereal future visualised an unprecedented impression of the distant future that was so influential that it continues to have an impact on popular culture today.