Feature Drama | 1920 | Silent | B/W
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Cathedral interior of columns with relief carved statues and standing candelabra. half a dozen people in black stand or kneel on the stone floor. Dressed in black too Freder enters and silently walks across the floor; he is the only person moving. Close up of his head as he looks around trying to spot someone or something familiar. Suddenly he looks up. Return to long shot. Now Freder remains motionless as the figures make the sign of the cross and depart. The men wear black suits and the women were black dresses and long black wimples. Freder approaches the rood screen of statues and stands facing the central figure of death.
Intertitle: "The Seven deadly Sins."
The camera pans across the statues, returning to rest on the central figure of the skeleton with a scythe: The Grim Reaper. Freder hold up his arms in despair and walks off, cap in hand.
Intertitle: "Maria was a prisoner in Rotwang's house"
Threequarter view shot of Maria sliding along the wall with her eyes on the approaching Rotwang. Freder walks through the concrete and .... pillars outside the cathedral. He is dejected. Back in the house of the evil Rotwang, Maria still evades her captor and swing a table between the two of them. With arms gripping the table top the pursued and the pursuer stare at each other from either end.
Intertitle: "Come, I am going to make the robot look like you"
Close up of robot's metallic face. Maria and Rotwang pull and push the separating table. With head down low, Freder trudges past the outside of Rotwang's house. Back inside, Rotwang throws the table aside and grapples with Maria on the table top. She pushes him away, climbs on the table, grabs the iron bars of the skylight and screams for help. Looking down fro, outside, we see their faces framed by the ironwork as Rotwang struggles to pull Maria down. Outside, Freder hears the screams and looks up. The camera pans back and forth across the outside of Rotwang's house: bare dirt walls with no windows. head and shoulders of Freder as he shouts "Maria". She continues to yell as Rotwang struggles in vain to pull her down. Freder charges the door: it remains solid. He tries again and pounds on the door. A large pentacle is fixed to Rotwang's door. Inside, the grappling continues until Rotwang puts his hand over Maria's mouth and she faints. back outside, Freder is pounding on the door with both fists: suddenly the door opens and Freder takes a step back in amazement. Freder cautiously steps inside and the door slams shut behind him. he faces back to open it but there are no handles or locks, he is trapped. He turns round and sees a short hallway with candles in spiral decorations on the walls (similar to the Amnesty International logo) and six steps leading up to a door that opens by itself. Freder runs up the stairs and through the doorway. He finds himself in Rotwang's study/library. He sees the spiral staircase (leading down to the catacombs) and another open door which he charges for, but the door behind closes and he turns back and again as the door in front closes, he pounds on the door to know avail. Back to the front door. It too is locked solid. No choice but to run down the spiral staircase. Again the door at the bottom mysteriously opens and he hesitates. The brickwork floor leads through to the trap door visible through the doorway. By the door rests a pile of firewood; Freder picks up a hefty stick and from the doorway surveys the room with its many doors. He uses the stick to wedge open the door he has come through. He tries to open one of the doors but it is firmly closed. He turns to look for another and sees the stick break and entry door fall closed. He rushes over but of course it too is closed tight. He tries desperately to tear it open before slumping in the corner and panting from his exertions. He spots a torn piece of material on a step leading to one of the doors. He picks it up and yells;
Close up of Maria's head in a metal helmet with wires attached. She is lying down in a tube. In the background, the robot sits with wires trailing from its body. Rotwang passes along the reclining cocooned Maria and pauses to adjust part of the equipment. He goes from one corner to another of his fantastic laboratory and flips levers to set his diabolical apparatus in motion. He adjusts more control devices and various electrical and chemical pieces of equipment start flashing and bubbling. Finally, he places his hands on two levers, closes his eyes momentarily and throws them. Electrical discharge flashes connect from a terminal to the head and foot of Maria's tube. Two halos of light pass up and down the seated robot. The discharges of light become more dramatic. Rotwang activates more systems, chemicals bubble in flashes, the rings of electricity around the robot multiply and the tension continues to build. Close up of the robot's face dissolving into Maria's image. The eyes are wide open. In the tube, the real Maria's head drops to one side. Outside the door, Freder sits dejected, with strip of cloth in one hand. Slowly the door to the spiral staircase opens and he makes his way out and up. The scene above has changed - the room is much larger and plainly decorated. Freder looks around in surprise. A curtain at the back is opened by Rotwang and he comes through and remains still while Freder looks about in bewilderment. Freer turns and sees Rotwang and rushes up to him:
Intertitle: "Where is Maria?"
He pushes the strip of material under Rotwang's face who calmly replies:
Intertitle: "She is with your father"
The robot, now in the image of Maria but with heavier eye make-up and less fluid movements) is in Fredersen's study. He summons it toward himself.
Rotwang stands in his doorway as Freder leaves the mad inventor's house. Freder stares intently at the robot:
Intertitle: "The copy is perfect. Now go down to the workers and undo Maria's teaching; stir them up to criminal acts."
Fredersen places his hands on the robot's shoulders. The head and neck of the robot protrude forward showing that it is not a perfect replica of a human. Close up of the robot's face: the eyes have heavy mascara and slowly it closes its left eyelid in a conspiratorial wink of smiling pleasure and gently nods its head. Freder rushes into the room and is struck in horror to see what he assumes to be Maria so close. Lights flash in his eyes and his vision becomes blurred.
Images of his father, Maria, Robotic Maria and flashes of light swirl round Freder's mind. he sways on his feet and experiences the sensation of falling. Scene fades out. Fade in to find Freder in bed under heavy covers and banks of pillows. He is unconscious. A nurse is at his side and his father walks in and rests a top hat and cloves on the bedside table. Fredersen leans over his son and touches his face. No sign of stirring so he takes up his hat and gloves and leaves. Fredersen and black-suited attendant leave the building and a butler in a white tunic closes the door behind. At that moment, Freder regains consciousness, stretches out his arm to the bedside table and takes a large piece of stiff card (which his father has left behind) from next to a glass of water. The card is a printed calling card, from C.A. Rotwang, with his father's name written on it. The scene dissolves to show a large room with plain drapes filled with groups of men in black tails and white tie: some kind of function. Back at the sick bed, the nurse mops Freder's brow and the butler removes clothes and boots from a chair. Close up of Fredersen and Rotwang in evening wear in the function room. Rotwang raises his gloved hand and points:
Intertitle: "Now we shall see whether people believe the robot is a creature of flesh and blood."
Middle shots of groups of men continuing to talk before looking round to see the lid of a large cauldron slowly rise. The cauldron is ornately gilded and rests on the shoulders of an octet of nearly-naked black men on their knees. Steam rises and slowly the robot Maria rises out. It wears a semi-circular headdress and a long shimmering gown. The men are stunned with lust as the robot raises its arms and through the translucence of the gown, we see the female form as the robot turns round on the spot. Its underclothing resembles that of a Turkish belly dancer as it gently gyrates. Suddenly, Freder sits bolt upright in bed and stares into nothing, mouth open and eyes wide. Back at the function room, the robot is now nearly topless and whirling round and round in a dervish dance. Close up of the men's lewd looks. The robot kneels on the floor and gyrates wildly. Dissolving montage of the men's eyeballs and the dancing female robot. Freder sits bolt upright. The robot Maria is lifted up on a platform of sculptured beasts within the cauldron that is now supported on the shoulders of the statues of the seven deadly sins. The young men in dinner suits rush up with hands aloft to touch the incarnation of lust. In the cathedral, the statues of the seven deadly sins come alive to the sound of the grim reaper playing a bone as a flute. The figures leave the recesses of the rood screen, advance and dissolve. Freder still sits upright in bed. The factory whistle blows and he puts his hands to his ears. In the cathedral, the Grim Reaper advances, swaying his scythe. Freder gives a shout of desperation and with one arm in the air, he collapses. Fade. fade in. Rotwang and Maria are sitting at a table. Both look dejected. Rotwang puts out his arm and ponders:
Intertitle: "John Fredersen is looking for an excuse to use violence against the workers."
Maria pulls up her head and arms and throws them down on the table. Rotwang turns to her;
Intertitle: "Maria, you always pleaded for peace but the robot in your likeness has been commanded to incite the workers to violence."
He pleads with her over the table. She withdraws.
Intertitle: "The workers accept the robot as Maria."
In the cavernous temple the robot Maria with hunched-over shoulders, addresses the workers in an evil fashion.
Intertitle: I have preached patience - "
She bends forward with arms outstretched gathering them toward her. Their attention is fixed as she moves like a conspiratorial hag.
Intertitle: "But your mediator has not come - and will never come."
Freder half dozes in an armchair when he is awakened and rushes over to the door to embrace Joseph, who is now in the black overalls of a worker.
Intertitle: "Maria is inciting the workers to revolt."
Freder collapses into a sofa and Joseph comes over to him.
"She has told them to destroy everything"
Freder jumps up and grabs Joseph.
Intertitle: "I cannot believe it"
Freder runs to the back of the ornate room, opens an invisible door that blends into the pattern of the wallpaper, grabs an overcoat and with Joseph leaves the sittingroom. Back in the temple, middle shots of robot Maria show her more and more beguiling. In great masses the workers move nearer to her. Middle shot of transfixed faces.
Intertitle: "You have waited patiently too long. The time has come to act"
Long shot of workers shout and raise their fists in the air. Close up of robot Maria's possessed face:
Intertitle: "Why should you sweat yourselves to death to benefit the Lord of Metropolis?"
It (she) runs to a small group of motors.
Intertitle: "Who keeps the machines going?"
Middle shot of the incensed workers. Joseph and Freder descend the steps to the temple. Close up of their shocked faces as robot Maria rushes about stirring up a frenzy amongst the workers.
Intertitle: "Who are the slaves of the machines?"
Cutting between robot Maria and workers faces. The tension is mounting. She (it) yells.
Intertitle: "let the machines stop!"
Robot Maria stands on a higher ledge.
Intertitle: "Destroy the machines!"
Freder and Joseph hold each other in horror. The workers surge forward. Freder points:
Intertitle: "You are not Maria!"
He advances, the workers back away in confusion and robot Maria screws up her face in devilish determination. Freder pleads:
Intertitle: "Maria pleads for peace, not for violence. This is not Maria!"
A worker standing in front of Robotic Maria stretches out his arm towards Freder and yells:
Intertitle: "John Fredersen's son!"
The workers gather round Freder and the ringleader yells again
Intertitle: "kill him!"
Joseph and Freder engage in fisticuffs with the workers on the steps. The ringleader jumps down from the platform her has shared with Robotic Maria and shouts:
Intertitle: "Let no one remain behind, we're destroying the machines!"
A worker holds Robotic Maria by the thighs and carries her off in triumphant parade. In an underground city square amongst the buildings a crowd of workers has gathered round Robotic Maria. Close up of her (its) head jerking from side to side as she (it)stares at the workers who come running from all around. The ringleader addresses the crowd before Robotic Maria throws up her arms and everyone rushes off. Robotic Maria leads the running workers up the wide steps to the lift platform that will take them above ground. The lift ascends with excited workers and they race along the tunnel to the portcullis gates seen at the beginning of the film. More workers ascend the platform lift while those at the front of the revolt try to break down the bars of the portcullis gate. There are a few women amongst the workers.
Intertitle: "Not one man or woman remained behind."
A small boy and girl descend some factory steps through a doorway. On either side are plaques with numbers. Maria and the workers succeed in breaking down the iron bar gates and rush into the main factory floor.
Intertitle: "To the central power house!"
Fredersen enters one of his palatial offices and examines the output from a large ticker tape machine on the wall. He then sets some switches and gets a televisual image of the foreman from the central dynamo room. He picks up a telephone handset. On the screen, the bearded foreman shouts.
Intertitle: "The workers are destroying the machines!"
Close up of the shocked Fredersen and then foreman.
Intertitle: "What shall I do?"
Shot of Fredersen looking at the image of the foreman.
Intertitle: "If they destroy the power house, the workers' city will be flooded."
Fredersen's eyes flash.
Intertitle: "Open the doors!"
Fredersen replaces the handset and switches off the televisual image. The workers race down the wide steps of the central dynamo room. Robotic Maria is amongst them. Middle shot of the agitated foreman, large spanner in hand shouting:
Intertitle: "have you gone mad? You are flooding your own houses!"
With spanner in hand above his head, the foreman addresses the crowd but they charge towards him and he is overpowered. Robotic Maria pulls a switch and the workers look up in glee as the huge dynamo begins to flash. Maria runs up an iron staircase and out of the door (of Rotwang's house.
Intertitle: "At last, Maria managed to escape."
She runs out from Rotwang's house and enters the platform city to return to the workers' underground world. Electricity discharge flashes flicker around the dynamo and water wells up in a fountain in an underground reservoir. The dynamo explodes. Maria exits from the platform lift, just before it too is destroyed by another falling lift. She turns to camera and screams. All around her lifts are crashing down and destroying themselves. She looks down to see water seeping through the floor. Suddenly a fountain explodes into the air. Water floods over the streets of the underground city. Maria runs through the streets and sees water pouring down some steps. A little girl descends. Maria rushes over to the collapsed child and carries her off while other children race past. Maria's clothing is soaking wet. In the central squared, she runs and climbs the platform that supports a large gong. She strains to pull the lever and a hammer hits the gong repeatedly. Children run through the streets as the flood waters increase and everyone gathers round the platform with the gong. Scenes of people rushing past fountains of water. The buildings begin to crumble as water gushes everywhere. Panic and chaos as everyone rushes to stand around the gong platform, arms outstretched. Freder and Joseph enter a flooding tunnel. They hear the gong sounding (close up of hammer to camera) and climb through a hole in the tunnel through which the water is pouring. They rush through the flooded streets of the underground city. Freder reaches Maria on the gong platform and they collapse in each other's arms.
Intertitle: "Yes, you are the real Maria".
Joseph stands alone in front of a fountain.
Intertitle: "To the airshafts quickly! The reservoirs have burst."
Joseph and the children depart through the flooded streets. Freder and Maria carry children in their arms as everyone makes their way to a staircase. Shot of dramatic above-ground ornate tower with searchlights in the sky. Inside, Fredersen sits at his desk and thinks, Flashes out light from outside cause him to jump up after we've seen explosions and the lights go out on the buildings and elevated highways seen from the vantage point of the tower. Fredersen throws his torchlight on the door as an attendant rushes in. The attendant approaches Fredersen and tells him the bad news. Fredersen drops the torch and collapses. Outside, whole buildings are destroyed by the flood while Joseph, Freder and Maria struggle up stairways. Fredersen composes himself and faces the attendant in alarm.
Intertitle: "Where is my son?"
Close up of half-lit attendant's horrified face.
Intertitle: "Tomorrow thousands will ask in anguish - where is my son?"
Fredersen puts his hands to his head in anguish. Freder, Joseph and Maria comfort a group of children. Maria turns to Freder.
Intertitle: "Save the children - I will tell the workers that they are safe."
Maria looks up. Workers are dancing in front of the destroyed boilers of the main factory unit - the scene of Moloch. The bearded foreman tries in vain to break up the dancing. He rushes up the steps and waves his arms and shouts. Close up of his fingers in his mouth trying to whistle. The workers stop dancing and gather beneath him.
Intertitle: "Where are your children?"
The crowd look up at him in concern.
Intertitle: "The entire workers' city is under water."
The crowd wait and bury their heads in grief. The foreman continues to berate them.
"Intertitle: "Who told you to destroy the machines, you fools and thus to destroy yourselves?"
The crowd look up in desperation.
Intertitle: "The witch! She is to blame for all this. Find her! Kill her!"
The foreman descends into the crowd and they all set off.
Up in the function room, with the lustful young men, a party is in full swing. Couples are dancing and some sport Chinese lanterns from sticks. Robotic Maria is sitting on the shoulders of the man. With excited gestures she attracts everyone's attention.
Intertitle: "Let's watch the world going to the devil."
The party-makers, with Robotic Maria still on high rush up some steps and into the outside world. The foreman and the workers rush through the streets jammed with stationary cars. The rush across an elevated highway to the plaza where the party-makers are dancing. A battle ensues. The foreman grabs Robotic Maria and ties her up. The jeering crowd surround them. Freder opens a door and sees the excited crowd of workers running by. Freder and Joseph rush outside and head down a long flight of steps before they stop and Freder directs Joseph in a nother way. Freder continues. Meanwhile the workers have build a funeral pyre for Robotic Maria. She (it) is dragged to the top and tied up. Freder rushes through the crowd of workers. The pyre of broken vehicles and furniture is lit. The workers, led by the foreman, begin to dance . The flames lick up about Robotic Maria as Freder is forced through to the pyre. He looks up and yells:
The workers struggle to hold back Freder as flames and smoke engulf Robotic Maria. Rotwang walks out of his doorway as if in a trance. He suddenly sees the funeral pyre and the dancing workers and backs away to hide behind a statue outside the gates of the cathedral. Maria is hiding behind another statue; she comes out when she sees the funeral pyre. Rotwang rushes out to confront her.
Intertitle: "If the mob sees you, they will kill you for having tricked them."
He won't let Maria past him and she backs into the cathedral door and runs in. Rotwang follows in pursuit. Meanwhile our hero, Freder, is struggling to free himself as Robotic Maria is engulfed in smoke at the stake. She (it) jerks her head wildly. Joseph has found Fredersen and tells him what is happening. They rush off. The flames are getting nearer Robotic Maria and for an instant the Robotic form appears. The crowd are thunderstruck and back away in fear, leaving Freder to fall to the ground and shout:
Intertitle: "The witch, the witch!"
The robot is clearly seen behind the flames. Freder points up: Rotwang is chasing Maria along the towers of the cathedral. Freder rushes into the cathedral and runs up the staircases with there fantastic and macabre animal statues. Rotwang throws Maria to the floor. Freder and Rotwang struggle above the gargoyles. The crowd look up in horror. Fredersen arrives, looks up and sinks to his knees. The crowd move in on him.
Intertitle: "Where are our children?"
The foreman and Joseph struggle. Joseph shouts:
Intertitle: "John Fredersen's son has saved your children!"
The foreman is stunned. Fredersen's hands are on his head as he looks up in horror.
Intertitle: "Save my son!"
Up on the cathedral, Rotwang has thrown Freder to the ground. Freder looks up to see Rotwang going even higher up a ladder across the roof slates. he is carrying Maria! Freder follows. All three are now on the ridge of the roof. Rotwang drops Maria and she clings on to the ridge. Rotwang and Freder tussle. They both fall and slide down the tiles to the lower level. Freder is on the floor and tangles his feet around Rotwang's legs. Rotwang loses balance and falls off. The crowd rush off, leaving Fredersen on his hands and knees with Joseph and an attendant standing by. Joseph approaches Fredersen.
Intertitle: "Thank heaven!"
Close up of Fredersen, his hands and head drop. Then he slowly raises his head and is helped up. Freder and Maria enjoy a kiss. The crowd of workers in ordered columns and rows walk to the steps of the cathedral. They are led by the foreman who stops them when Freder, Maria and Fredersen appear through the doorway. The foreman and Fredersen approach each other but they hesitate. Maria moves closer to Freder and says:
Intertitle: "There can be no understanding between the hands and the brain unless the heart acts as mediator."
Freder approaches his father and in the final scene takes his hand and then the hand of the foreman and joins them together.
Title: THE END
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