RADIO GA GA: A Marriage Of Music & Cinema

By Rob Stefoski

Queen released their hit song Radio Ga Ga in January 1984, reaching number 1 in nineteen countries. For those of us who are old enough to remember it was accompanied by a music video which featured the members of the band travelling around a strange futuristic city in a flying car.

That strange city is the city in an old German expressionist film, Metropolis. It is regarded as a spearhead of the science-fiction genre. The film was directed by Fritz Lang in 1927 and tells of a futuristic urban dystopia in which we find a great divide between the working class and their masters. The son of the city's mastermind falls in love with a working class prophet who predicts the coming of a saviour to settle their differences.

Queen's music video for Radio Ga Ga pays homage to the film and contains footage and scenes from the movie. In the end of the video Queen end up performing the song for the city's working class. The music video ends with the words "Thanks to Metropolis".

The music video came about after Freddy Mercury's solo song Love Kills was used in a new restoration of Metropolis by music producer Giorgio Moroder. At the time, in 1984, this was the most complete restoration of the film since 1927. There wouldn't be an improved version for almost two more decades. In exchange for using Freddy's song in the Metropolis restoration Queen were granted the rights to use footage from it in their Radio Ga Ga video, after buying the performance rights to the film from the communist East German government.

In 2008 a damaged print of Fritz Lang's original cut of the film was found in a museum in Argentina. After a long restoration process a complete version of the film was released in 2010.

Here is the trailer for the restored version of Fritz Lang's Metropolis:

In 2001 the film Metropolis was inscribed on UNESCO's Memory of the World Register, the first film to be acknowledged as such.

Queen's music video for Radio: Ga Ga was nominated for an MTV Video Music Award in 1984.

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