by Thea Von Harbou
an early edition of the poetic novel by Fritz Lang's wife
Here is a sample of the dense "purple passages" which evoke a rich and mysterious atmosphere which in turn set the tone for the film.
Go HERE to see more text from the book along with Mike Kaluta's brilliant illustrations done for an illustrated edition of the novel.
analogous to "Children of Metropolis" in the musical
"The milk-coloured glass ceiling above the Eternal Gardens was an opal in the light which bathed it...
"One (woman) was standing aside, mixing him a drink. From hip to knee billowed sparkling brocade. Slender, bare legs held proudly together, she stood, like ivory, in purple, peaked shoes. Her gleaming body rose, delicately, from her hips and--she was not aware of it--quivered in the same rhythm as did the man's chst in exhaling his sweet-rising breath. Carefully did the little painted face under the eye-mask watch the work of her careful hands...
"...like a jousously ringing rainbow, peal upon peal of laughter arched itself gaily above the young people.
"Then suddenly--suddenly--Freder ("Steven" in the musical) turned his head. His hands, which were resting on the hips of the drink-mixer, lost hold of her, dropping down by his sides as if dead. The laughter eased, not one of the friends moved. Not one of the little, brocaded, bare-limbed women moved hand or foot. They stood and looked.
"The door of the Eternal Gardens had opened and through the door came a procession of children. They were all holding hands. They had dwarvs' faces, grey and ancient. They were little ghost-like skeletons, covered with faded rags and smocks. They had colourless hair and colourless eyes. They walked on emaciated bare feet. Noiselessly they follwed their leader.
"Their leader was a girl. The austere countenance of The Virgin. The sweet countenance of the mother. She held a skinny child by each hand. Now she stood still, regarding the young men and women one after another, with the deadly severity of purity. She was quite maid and mistress, inviolability--and was, too, graciousness itself, her beautiful brow in the diadem of goodness; her voice, pity; every word a song.
"She released the children and stretched forward her hand, motioning towards the friends and saying to the children:
'Look, these are your brothers!'
And, motioning towards the children, she said to the friends:
'Look, these are your brothers!'
She waited. She stood still and her gaze rested upon Freder.
...there reigned, for a short time, an unprecedented confusion of noise, indignation and embarrassment. The girl appeared still to be waiting. Nobody dared to touch her, though she stood so defenceless, among the grey infant-phantoms. Her eyes rested perpetually on Freder.
"Then she took her eyes from his and, stooping a little, took the children's hands again, turned and led the procession out...All was emptiness and silence...
"Near Freder, upon the illuminated mosaic floor, cowered the little drink-mixer, sobbing uncontrolledly.
"With a leisurely movement, Freder bent towards her and suddenly twitched the mask, the narrow blask mask, from her eyes.
"The drink-mixer shrieked out as though overtaken in stark nudity. Her hands flew up, clutching, and remained hanging stiffly in the air.
"A little painted face stared, horror-stricken at the man. The eyes, thus exposed, were senseless, quite empty...
'Who was that girl?...Can nobody tell me?'
"...He felt himself poor and besmirched. In an ill-temper which rendered him as wretched as though he had poison in his veins, he left the club. He walked home as though going into exile."
THE WORLD OF