Most movie fans have heard of Metropolis, Fritz Lang’s futuristic masterpiece. Many fans don’t realize there was an American remake.
Do you think I’m kidding?
It has German-like proles without ties!
Laboratories in which men do things no man should do, violating the laws of God and nature!
It has unsparing technocratic masters!
Lavish modern rooms for the ruling class!
Doubt? Behold the magnificent opening, which does "Metropolis" one better in the FX department, with rear-screen projection so you can see the action through the wing-holes of the flying craft. Holy Mother of Hugh Ferris:
There’s just one difference: it’s a musical comedy.
Really. I added the music from Metropolis. The opening sequence shows two star-crossed lovers meeting in their hovercars over the city, and mooning about how they'd like to get government approval to be married. I suppose that’s apt; this is the land of cheer and optimism, and the class-strife of Metropolis wouldn’t play well here in 1930. (In a few years, maybe,) Once it gets its futuristic sets out of the way, it turns into a run-of-the-mill romantic comedy with some dreadful ukelele-based musical numbers. It gets 1980 completely wrong, of course. We didn’t have two-way TV-phones:
Or flying cars or cities landscaped like a Hugh Ferris drawing. In fact, Ferris had to have been a major influence on the designers of the opening sequence; they’re almost identical copies of his boldest work. They also remind you how these cityscapes would have been barren and empty - no one would cross those grand boulevards. But the movie doesn’t deal with such issues; before it’s a quarter done, it introduces a defrosted Swede from 1930 who serves as the audience’s stand-in. This leads to something quite amusing. (I think I posted something about this before, but it was many, many years ago.)
Wow. On the surface, it’s a lame joke; gee, Henry Ford had competition. But it’s obvious what they’re aiming for, and the movie just called out Ford as a raging anti-Semite.
The movie quickly decides that’s not enough to hang around in 1980, and decides to move the action . . . to Mars.
Mars does not need women. It has plenty:
And so on. The ship and the opening footage would be reused in sci-fi serials for years, apparently. The entire movie is on YouTube, in 11 segments, starting here. It's telling that there are 135 views for the first ep - and 49 for the last.