Brigitte Helm

Metropolis 1927

Brigitte Helm born March 17, 1906 in Berlin. Died June 11, 1996 in Ascona, Switzerland.

Helm played the dual role of Maria, rescuer of children and love interest of the son of the industrial leader that rules the city of Metropolis in Fritz Lang's 1927 film. Helm also plays the robot ("machinenmensch" human-machine) invented by evil genius Rotwang.

In the tale, Rotwang originally invents the robot in secret as a replica of the dead wife of the city's industrial leader, a woman he secretly loved. In the story, he converts his creation into a copy of Maria in order to send her out to perform evil deeds to thus destroy her reputation as a leader among the down-trodden city workers, something he is encouraged to by the Joh Fredersen, the man who runs the airy world of the elite in Metropolis. Fredersen doesn't realize that Rotwang's plan goes even further, intending to have robot-Maria lead the workers to self-destruction.

On the set of the Fritz Lang silent sci-fi epic, Metropolis, 1927. Brigitte Helm played multiple parts in the film: the Creative Man, the Machine Man ("machinenmensch" who actually looks quite like a female), Death, the Seven Deadly Sins, and one the film stars, Maria.

From interview with director Fritz Lang:

"...Brigitte Helm in Metropolis. God, she was beautiful! Metropolis, you know, was born from my first sight of the skyscrapers of New York in October 1924, and then I took myself to Hollywood where UFA sent me to study American production methods. It was terribly hot that season. In any case, while visiting New York, I thought it was the crossroads of multiple and confused human forces, blinded and knocking into one another, in an irresistible desire for exploitation, and living in perpetual anxiety. I spent an entire day walking the streets. The buildings seemed to be a vertical sail, scintillating and very light, a luxurious backdrop, suspended in the dark sky to dazzle, distract and hypnotize. At night, the city did not simply give the impression of living: it lived as illusions live. I knew I should make a film about these impressions."

Cahiers Du Cinema, ["Notebooks on Cinema" magazine] 1965.

Other excerpts are online at cinefantastiqueonline

Original Page June 2015

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