Review: A huge, tenacious effort to bring to life an epic film

Dmytro Morykit.
Dmytro Morykit.

Metropolis by Dmytro Morykit, Spa Centre, Leamington, August 15.

Both Alfred Hitchcock and Fritz Lang directed silent films in 1927. Hitchcock’s romantic drama, The Mountain Eagle – a German/British co-production - is lost. Lang’s German expressionist epic science fiction work, Metropolis, was rediscovered in a very near original form in 2008 in the archive of the film museum in Buenos Aires (earlier edits had been issued with a quarter of the original film footage considered lost).

Dmytro Morykit brought the two-hour version to the Spa Centre, accompanying the film with his own score. Born to Ukranian/Italian parents, displaced from their respective countries after the Second World War, Morykit settled in Perthshire with his partner Hazel to pursue his composition of intensely personal, highly evocative work.

Lang’s remarkable epic received a mixed response at its initial 1927 release. The 2010 release received ecstatic reviews: “a cinematic miracle....just how Lang envisioned it”.

The action takes place in a futuristic city sharply divided between the working class and the city planners. The son of the city’s mastermind falls in love with a working class prophet who predicts the coming of a saviour to mediate the differences. In summary – the head and hands need a heart.

Morykit’s score is at its best during the several chases as workers pursue factory owners through the city amid floods and falling masonry. His left hand interpretations are particularly enterprising and I clearly detected a speeded-up element of the ‘Goldberg’ Variations.

Morykit’s London performance to a full house received a standing ovation; his Spa Centre audience was somewhat less responsive, but gave him a typically warm Leamington reception, recognising a huge, tenacious effort over the two hours.

Clive Peacock