Featured facts about Fritz Lang Metropolis Silent Film with Live Music

March 13, 2023
A tall, cylindrical building with many windows is in the middle behind a row of rectangle buildings. Some are lit up and two rays of light shine toward the middle building.

Check out these featured facts about Fritz Lang’s Metropolis: Silent Film with Live Music Featuring Peter Richard Conte, organ
In-person, livestream on Sun, Mar 13, and on-demand through Mar 26.

Fritz Lang’s Metropolis. Photo courtesy of Kino Lober.

A Science Fiction Breakout

Directed by Fritz Lang, Metropolis stunned audiences with its pioneering special effects and elaborate production design. Called a “futuristic masterpiece,” the dark plot of Metropolis depicts a classist struggle between industrialists and the workers they exploit, a love story, and an out-of-control robot.

Peter Richard Conte. A black-haired white man wearing glasses and all black sits on a bench with their back to an organ console with their hands crossed on their lap.

Peter Richard Conte. Photo courtesy of Artist.

Putting Sound to Silence

Called a “creatively astute silent film accompanist,” Peter Richard Conte provides a live score in a fully improvised performance that promises a “mixture of levity and technical brilliance" (The Birmingham News).

Conte plays the Wanamaker Grand Court organ

Photo by Emma Lee/whyy.org

Top of the Mountain

Conte presides over the world’s largest fully functioning musical instrument (29,000 pipes) at Macy’s Center City in downtown Philadelphia, as only the fourth Wanamaker Grand Court Organist.

Northrop Organ

Photo by Patrick O'Leary/University of Minnesota


Speaking of impressive virtuosity, Northrop’s Aeolian-Skinner Opus 892 pipe organ is so renowned that for decades it has boasted its own fanclub, The Friends of the Northrop Organ! Those fans eventually became the Northrop Organ Advisory Board.

Fritz Lang

Bundesarchiv, Bild 102-08538 / CC-BY-SA 3.0, CC BY-SA 3.0 DE, via Wikimedia Commons

Fritz Lang: Film-Noir Visionary

A German Expressionist, director Fritz Lang was called the "Master of Darkness" by the British Film Institute. After emigrating to the US, he became a Hollywood film-noir heavyweight. He continued to make films until the 1960s, some featuring all-star casts including icons such as Barbara Stanwyck and Marilyn Monroe. 

cityscape in Metropolis

Fritz Lang’s Metropolis. Photo courtesy of Kino Lober.

Shaping the Future

Lang and gifted cinematographer Karl Freund created production design techniques and special effects for Metropolis that dazzled and influenced generations of filmmakers. Its impact can be found in science-fiction films from Blade Runner, Brazil and works from Alfred Hitchcock, to Dr. Who, Young Frankenstein and Avatar in the 21st century. A Sight and Sound critic’s poll in 2012 named Metropolis one of the The 100 Greatest Films of All Time.