Film If there's a film from the silent era which continues to be an influence on pop culture, it's Metropolis. I've seen it innumerable times in countless versions, from a very rough edition given away on VHS by Empire Magazine, to the even worse version knocked out originally on dvd by Eureka, to their superb restoration which turned up on a free dvd with The Observer (or what it the Telegraph?) to the even more print which toured the country with the newly recorded soundtrack which I saw at the Cornerhouse in Manchester.
But what of the people who've made it? I've scoured the internet, well ok, been Googling around and found the following. Even if you ignore the rest, I'd recommend the first link which is a thorough investigation into Lang's whole career selecting key films, by Noel Murray formerly of The AV Club. Of the rest, all I can say is that it's interesting just how under represented the performers are in these films at least in terms of none Wikipedia sources. There are German webpages but even then they don't appear to be too complex.
The sprawling, obsessive career of Fritz Lang (director):
"Film historian David Kalat once proposed rules for a Fritz Lang drinking game: Whenever a Lang film shows an angry mob or a woman in a nightgown, everybody takes a shot. Unlike many of the major auteurs of the first half of the 20th century, Lang didn’t bury his motifs for critics to unearth decades later. He moved the camera and used lighting expressively, and employed overt visual symbolism even after he transitioned from silent films to sound. Over and over, Lang made movies about the madness of crowds, the indelible stain of guilt, the influence of the powerful, and yes, the way people look beneath their clothes—literally and metaphorically."
Eric Pommer aka Erich Pommer (producer):
"Erich Pommer (July 20, 1889 – May 8, 1966) was one of the most influential producers of the silent film era, having been one of the most influential creators behind the German Expressionism movement as the head of production at Ufa from 1924 to 1926. Under his guidance, many of what critics consider the greatest movies ever made were directed, such as The Cabinet of Dr. Caligari (1920), Dr. Mabuse, the Gambler (1922), Die Nibelungen (1924), Mikaël (1924), Der Letzte Mann/The Last Laugh (1924), Variety (1925), Tartuffe (1926), Faust (1926), Metropolis (1927) and The Blue Angel (1930)."
Thea von Harbou (writer):
"In his 1928 book on film directing and screenwriting, Russian filmmaker Vsevolod Pudovkin notes that many literary figures had difficulty adjusting to “the optically expressive form” of film. Thea von Harbou, one of three German screenwriters who Pudovkin singles out, stands alongside Carl Mayer as one of the most influential film figures in Weimar German cinema, which spanned the years 1919 to 1933. Including an excerpt from Harbou’s script for Spione (1928), an espionage adventure film, Pudovkin goes on to praise the novelist Harbou for her ability to work with the film medium. Indeed, it is Harbou’s awareness of the “possibilities of the camera such as shots, framing, editing, [and] intensification through visually striking details” that distinguishes her work. In the scene in question—one of the most visually dynamic in the film—Harbou conveys in words the sense of movement, speed, and sudden discovery surrounding a train wreck. Each shot, each significant gesture, is noted, and in this she exemplifies the way her husband and collaborator Fritz Lang once described the model screenplay: “To the last intertitle everything has to be ready before the cameras roll”."
Alfred Abel (actor):
"The actor Alfred Abel first tested other professional areas like a forest apprenticeship, a not finished gardener apprenticeship and a study for artistic drawing before he decided to become an actor. He made his stage debut in Lucerne/Switzerland in 1904 and in the same year he came to the Deutsche Theater directed by Max Reinhardt in Berlin, the metropolis of theater in Germany."
Brigitte Helm (actor):
"She was the most sought-after actress of the glory days of the German film industry, a tall blond beauty who starred in more than 35 movies and set directors against one another in the competition for her services. Ms. Helm was regarded as such a perfect embodiment of the era's ideal of cool sophistication that when she turned Josef von Sternberg down for the starring role in "Blue Angel," he had to settle for Marlene Dietrich."
Gustav Fröhlich (actor):
"Gustav Fröhlich was born an illegitimate child in Hanover, Germany, and was raised by foster parents. Before becoming an actor, he worked for a short time as an editor of a provincial newspaper and as the author of popular novels. During World War I he also volunteered for duty in occupied Brussels as a press supervisor."
Rudolf Klein-Rogge (actor):
"The screen's original Dr. Mabuse, Klein-Rogge excelled at playing sinister figures in 1920s and 193s German productions, and was a regular of Fritz Lang's Weimar films."
Gottfried Huppertz (original score):
"Gottfried Huppertz was born in Köln, Germany on March 11, 1887. There He studied music in a conservatory, and in 1905 wrote his first composition, a song titled "Rankende Rosen" (Tendrillar Roses), which he dedicated to his childhood friend Rudolf Klein-Rogge. Huppertz, around 1918Gottfried Huppertz in Fritz Lang's Dr. MabuseDuring WWI Huppertz worked as an opera singer and theater actor in Coburg, Freiburg and Breslau, and also wrote some music for the theater. In 1920 Huppertz moved to Berlin and began acting at the Nollendorfplatz Theater, and shortly afterwards met his future wife, Charlotte Lindig. During that period, Huppertz was also recorded singing two songs with other singers as promotion for the operetta "Verliebte Leute," which was released in 1922 on a 78rpm record."