Original Research

The top, the bottom and the middle: Space, class and gender in Metropolis

D.C. Byrne
Literator | Vol 24, No 3 | a298 | DOI: https://doi.org/10.4102/lit.v24i3.298 | © 2003 D.C. Byrne | This work is licensed under CC Attribution 4.0
Submitted: 01 August 2003 | Published: 01 August 2003

About the author(s)

D.C. Byrne, Department of English, University of South Africa, Pretoria, South Africa

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My article explores the images and metaphors relating to space in Fritz Lang’s 1926 film, Metropolis (remade in 1984 by Georgio Moroder). Using a primarily Marxist interpretive framework, I analyse the spatial layout of the filmic city of Metropolis, divided into three levels, one above ground and two underground, as metonymic of the class divisions in the urban society that are represented in the film. The article also examines the architecture of Metropolis as representing social values and conflicts. It then proceeds to investigate the film’s gender dynamics as revealed in the two figures of the robot Maria and the real Maria, and concludes that the film’s gender and class ideology is remarkably conservative.


Gender In Science Fiction; Marxist Class Analysis; Metropolis; Moroder Lang; Science-Fiction Film; Urban Space


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