No. 118 (essentialsaltes) wrote,
No. 118

Metropolis, by Thea von Harbou

For the uninitiated, Thea von Harbou was Fritz Lang's wife, and she wrote the screenplays for most of his early works (until she joined the Nazi Party, and Lang fled Germany). In addition to screenplays, she also more or less simultaneously wrote novelizations of the story. Case in point, Metropolis.

Wow, it's really quite a mess. Extremely overwrought, romantic verbiage mashed with dystopian pulp philosophy. I've seen some people say the novel helps you understand the movie. I found that my memory of the movie helped me understand the freaking novel. Perhaps the most extravagant verbal excess was at a point where our heroine is imperilled by slowly rising waters. The water suddenly has a two page soliloquy, and starts puttin' the moves on Maria:
Yes, now the water seemed horribly cool, as her slender feet dipped down into it, and it murmured as she ran along through it. It soaked itself into the hem of her dress, clinging tight and making progress more and more difficult. But that was not the worst. The worst was that the water also began to have a voice.

The water quoth: "Do you know, beautiful Maria, that I am fleeter than the fleetest foot? I am stroking your sweet ankles. I shall soon clutch at your knees. No one has ever embraced your tender hips. But I shall do so, and before your steps number a thousand more. And I do not know, beautiful Maria, if you will reach your destination before you can refuse me your breast. . . .
"Beautiful Maria, how Sweet are your hips. ... Is the man whom you love never to find that out? Beautiful Maria, listen to what I say to you: only a little to one side of this way, a flight of stairs leads steeply upward, leading to freedom. . .. Your knees are trembling . . . how sweet that is! Do you think to overcome your weakness by clasping your hands? You call upon God, but believe me: God does not hear you! Since I came upon the earth as the great flood, to destroy all in existence but Noah's ark, God has been deaf to the scream of His creatures. Or did you think I had forgotten how the mothers screamed then? Have you more responsibility on your conscience than God on His? Turn back, beautiful Maria, turn back!

"Now you are making me angry, Maria. Now I shall kill you! Why are you letting those hot, salty drops fall down into me? I am clasping you around your breast, but it no longer stirs me. I want your throat and your gasping mouth ! I want your hair and your weeping eyes !

Um, yeah. I didn't care for it much. One of those occasions when the movie is better than the book.
Tags: book, film

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