did convey a strong message, but characteristically it left a lot to be desired. Characters came forth on the screen who demanded our attention, only to be dropped from the story entirely. But Fritz Lang can hardly be blamed for the mistakes made by the film’s editors. In this case there was quite a bit of relevancy tossed into the trash can. A very unfortunate cut involved Hel, the deceased mother of Freder Fredersen, son of the master of Metropolis. In the German release, the existence of Freder’s mother is represented in the form of a beautiful statue, the base of which shows the name Hel.
This and all other references to Freder’s mother were cut before the film’s American release, mainly because the editors felt the name Hel would be interpreted differently by an English speaking audience. The editors responsible had very little regard for the director’s vision. As a result of their decisions, they cut scenes that were necessary to keeping the storyline intact. By hacking away at Metropolis
like this, they severed the meaning behind some of the scenes involving John Fredersen, master of Metropolis, and the evil scientist Rotwang, who was once very much in love with Hel (and not as evil as the film depicts).
I kept thinking about the film; specific parts of it were floating around in my head, and I knew there were parts missing, so I went looking for the original novel. Unfortunately I could not find it. Then finally, after a few months of searching, I found what I was looking for — actually, it was better than what I was looking for: Metropolis
by Thea von Harbou, English translation, beautifully illustrated by Michael W. Kaluta and published by The Donning Company. The introduction reads in part as follows: