8 Legendary Films That Were Rediscovered Years After They Were Lost
When Fritz Lang premiered his hugely influential science fiction extravaganza Metropolis to German audiences in 1927 the film ran a whopping 153 minutes long. Although it was well-received, the company in charge of Metropolis' international distribution, Parufamet, thought that the length of the film would hurt its chances financially. American playwright Channing Pollock was called in to create a simplified version of the film that would appeal to international audiences. Channing managed to whittle the film down to 115 minutes. The shortened version of Metropolis premiered in the US to pans from some critics, including science fiction pioneer H.G. Wells. In the 1930s, Metropolis underwent yet another cut to remove the communist subtext from the film. By the time distributors finished tinkering with the runtime, Metropolis clocked in at 91 minutes. The 91 minute version became the most widely viewed version. For decades only compromised versions of Metropolis could be viewed by film buffs, despite an attempted restoration in 2002, which met with disapproval from critics. Film historians searched the world over to find a full length copy of the feature and over a quarter of the original film was believed to be lost forever. However, in the 2000s two separate versions of Metropolis were discovered, one in the Museo del Cine in Buenos Aires, Argentina and another in the National Film Archive of New Zealand. The two prints were used to create a new cut of the film that ran 149 minutes, the closet version yet to Lang's original vision.