White, L. Michael. "In the Catacombs." PBS.org. Apr. 1998. 18 Nov. 2008 <http://www.pbs.org/wgbh/pages/frontline/shows/religion/first/catacombs.html>.
This article gives a description of the Christian catacombs in Rome. Detailing the intricate system of tunnels in this historic city, Professor L. Michael White explains how these catacombs became an integral part in the early Christian movement. Comparing them to “colonies of ants,” the article gives an interesting insight into how these burial areas became comparable to elaborate homes with painting depicting the classic biblical stories.
In relation to Metropolis, the catacombs were the safe haven of the hopes and dreams of the working class. With its rocky, earthy look, the architecture of the catacombs just adds to the Christian ideals that were being preached in the depths of the earth. The location of the catacombs symbolically represents the essential ideals that the character Maria hopes to instill within the crowd she speaks to. As the article expresses, these catacombs were used as a hiding place for Christians during ages of prosecution and an area where they would be able to pray without fear of being caught. This purpose clearly becomes important in the film, where Maria is able to preach to the masses of the arrival of a savior (comparable to the second coming of Jesus Christ) without the worry of oppression from the world above. It is the fact that the architecture is not like that of the luxurious, extravagant style of the upper world that allows the viewer to understand how the workers are desiring a more earthly, spiritual end compared to the demigods of the Metropolis on the surface.
Jurkiewicz, Kenneth. "Using Film in the Humanities Classroom: The Case of "Metropolis"." The English Journal 79.3 (1990): 47-50.
This article gives a detailed description of the film Metropolis by Fritz Lang. Giving insight into the overall plot of the film, the article also outlines the many different character motivations that make the film such a classic. With descriptions and histories of all the main characters, the article provides the reader the opportunity to understand the motivation of the character's action as well as an insight into the psyche of the characters. Additionally, the ending of the article provides critical reading questions that allow the reader to think about the film in terms of it s historical context as well as their own interpretation of Metropolis.
This excerpt written by Kennith Jurkiewicz gives specific examples of Maria as the biblical figure that I argue her to be and how it relates to the architecture of the lower level catacombs. Comparing her to a "futuristic John the Baptist," Jurkiewicz adds to my argument that Lang's clear comparison between Maria, the voice of hope to the working class, and John the Baptist, the voice of the second coming of Jesus Christ, allowed her to sway the hearts of men, both the real "good" Maria and the robotic imposter. This comparison to the biblical figure of John the Baptist gives clear point that it was this complete power to plea to the ethos of the working class, which drew from the motherly intuition of Maria, that made her such an iconic figure to this group of people. This, along with the description of the catacombs offered in the other source, give an understanding of the Christian symbolism that is not only being emphasized by Maria but also the catacombs where she sends her message. The catacombs act as an amplifier of the message of Maria, adding to the importance of the architecture to the film.
Gerlach, Neil, and Sheryl N. Hamilton. "Preserving Self in the City of Imagination." Review. Canadian Review of American Studies 2004: 115-34. Project Muse. 21 Nov. 2008 <http://proxy.library.upenn.edu:2298/journals/canadian_review_of_american_studies/v034/34.2gerlach
This article discusses the way the metropolis shapes the film Dark City. Neil Gerlach and Sheryl Hamilton, the authors of the article, delve into the ways in which a large city affects the mood and the theme of the film as well as past films that influenced the prominent use of the city in Dark City. The two also highlight the human psyche of the city and how it leads to the alienation of its citizens as well as the seedy, unnatural feeling of a large metropolitan area.
Dark City, with clear ties to Metropolis, acts as a modern day example of the ways a city’s architecture can drive a films plot as well as reveal facets of characters motivation and drive. Hamilton and Gerlach both give credit to Metropolis for revolutionizing the idea of using a city landscape as a reflection of the film’s motif: for Metropolis that would be the dehumanization of humanity through technology. As seen in the characters of Frederson, who lives high up on the building of the city, the further away he is removed from the ground, the further he is from the human soul and loses the very essence of humanity. This is exactly what Gerlach and Hamilton discuss in the article, concluding with the idea that most protagonist of these films, which rely upon the architecture of the cities to convey their moral, attempt to return to nature. In Metropolis’s case, this would be Freder choosing to be with Maria, the character who represents motherly, earthy nurturing.