BBCR4+RA.cc: Metropolis (2006) RADIO DRAMA

October 29, 2012 by · 1 Comment
Filed under: Audio Drama, Online Audio, SFFaudio essential 

SFFaudio Online Audio

Ace Books F-246 - Metropolis by Thea Von Harbou

The Tower of Babylon in MetropolisI wrote about it airing six year ago, but I’ve just now heard it.

Metropolis, an astoundingly great radio dramatization of a famous novel that was turned into a famous movie, is nuanced, deep, surprising, and totally, idea based.

I’m astounded, really and truly astounded and amazed too at the depth and power an hour long program is able to achieve.

The script has humor, skepticism, cynicism, hope, sex, romance, informative infodumps, and a city full of pathos.

The production, acting, pacing, and composite audio experience is completely awe inspiring.

What gets me most is that even though it is based on a 1926 novel by Thea von Harbou, this version of Metropolis is, arguably, even more relevant than either Brave New World (1931) or 1984 (1949).

Those two classics don’t feel wholly and completely modern – this production of Metropolis does. It’s modernity is ripe, it’s like an episode of Black Mirror, and it should be on your radar.

Still not sold? Then imagine a Science Fiction version of Fight Club but set in the world of The Space Merchants or Judge Dredd and imagine it written by either Philip K. Dick or Frederik Pohl.

Here’s a review by Elisabeth Mahoney of The Guardian:

An audacious portrayal of a futuristic city as much as a state of mind, and an iconic film to boot, Metropolis (Radio 4, Friday) doesn’t exactly scream radio adaptation. But writer Peter Straughan and director Toby Swift, who won the Prix Italia in 2004 for their adaptation of Fritz Lang’s M, clearly aren’t put off by such hurdles. Their Metropolis was all deliciously claustrophobic intensity and dark interiority; their mega-city full of bubbling, menacing sounds you soon wanted to shut out. Without the famous visuals, you never really got a sense of the scale of Lang’s vision – you didn’t believe in the 62 million workers in Metropolis – but you did get the chilling psychological dimension of the dystopia. Edward Hogg, as Freddy, though sounding like a young Woody Allen at times, convinced as the alienated, lonely outsider who manages to subvert the mega-state from within. There were laughs, too, at least early on. “When was the last time you slept?” a therapist asks a suicidal Freddy. “About eight years ago,” says Freddy. “No,” the therapist concludes, “I don’t think that’s significant.”

Peter Straughan, the adaptor, and Toby Swift, the director, have achieved a classic for our time and for the ages – this is highly, highly recommended!

BBC Radio 4RadioArchives.ccThea von Harbou’s MetropolisSFFaudio Essential
Adapted by Peter Straughan; Performed by a full cast
MP3 via TORRENT – 57 Minutes [RADIO DRAMA]
Broadcaster: BBC Radio 4 (Friday Drama)
Broadcast: March 24, 2006
Available via RadioArchive.cc
Freder, the protagonist of Metropolis is an underworked “captain” in a high level position in the futuristic consumer society of the mega city named Metropolis. Feeling suicidal, but unable to understand why, Fredor switches identities with a low level “product insertion” – a kind of telemarketing – but failing at that Fredor soon finds himself working for Maria, an imperfect beauty with all the answers. Maria plunges Fredor into the depths of her underground conspiracy to disrupt the workings of society.

Directed by Toby Swift

Cast:
Freder – Edward Hogg
Maria – Tracy Wiles
Josaphat – Damian Lynch
Schmale – Peter Marinker

Michael W. Kaluta illustration of Maria and Freder

Posted by Jesse Willis

[Use Omitron! Omitron, use it! Use Omitron, it’s great!]

BBC R7 & RA.cc: Rogue Male by Geoffrey Household

October 10, 2009 by · 8 Comments
Filed under: Aural Noir, Online Audio 

Aural Noir: Online Audio

BBC Radio 7 - BBC7So in following up on that terrific new dramatization of The Most Dangerous Game, you know the one I told you about the other day, I’ve come across a novel with a similar theme. Indeed, this is a novel with a similar legacy to that of Richard Connell’s short story. Consider this…

“One should always hunt an animal in its natural habitat; and the natural habitat of man is – in these days – a town. Chimney pots should be the cover, and the method, snapshots at two hundred yards. My plans are far advanced. I shall not get away alive, but I shall not miss; and that is all that matters to me any longer.” – Rogue Male

Similar to The Most Dangerous Game hey?

But as to the legacy – let me offer these…

First up we need to consider in reverse chronological order David Morrell‘s 1972 novel, First Blood, and the subsequent movie of the same name. Said Morrell: “When I started First Blood back in 1968, I was deeply influenced by Geoffrey Household’s Rogue Male.”

That’s a very strong recommendation in itself.

Then there was a 1976 TV-movie version starring Peter O’Toole (I also recall seeing it advertised as airing on A&E television network back in the 1990s)….

And lastly, in the video department, there was a 1941 film version (directed by Fritz Lang) put out under the title Man Hunt

As to the audio, I did a search of that handy dandy resource RadioArchive.cc and found there a lovely UNABRIDGED reading of Rogue Male, a novel that was commissioned (and recently re-aired) on BBC Radio 7. I’ve just finished listening to it and I highly recommend it!

SERIOUSLY, be sure give this one a try. It’s totally gripping from the first sentence on. It holds your attention with a combination of great narration (by Michael Jayston), excellent writing (by Geoffrey Household) and historical relevance. It has a feel of a historical novel – giving you a sense of the time and the culture – whilst also meditating on the human mind – especially decision making. It’s not unlike Ken Follett‘s Eye Of The Needle or The Eagle Has Landed by Jack Higgins – it’s that good.

One thing that Rogue Male has, that those others lack, is a nice human-animal friendship. This is essentially a hunting story, rather than a spy story, so it is more singularly focused on those themes and less externalized. I’ve never read a story that depicts what it’s like to stalk an animal (be it human or otherwise) better than this novel does.

Here’s what one of the commenters on the torrent thread said about it:

“This simply has to be one of the best ‘reads’ I will have in 2008. The reader is brilliant and the story suspenseful beyond belief. I listened to it in bed and it kept me on the edge of my seat throughout every chapter. Thanks for upping it. This is already in my top 10 audio experiences of all time.”

Rogue Male by Geoffrey HouseholdRogue Male
By Geoffrey Household; Read by Michael Jayston
15 Broadcasts – Approx. 6 Hours 32 Minutes [UNABRIDGED]
Broadcaster: BBC Radio 7
Broadcast: 2004
Told in first person by the protagonist, an un-named British sportsman, sets out to see whether he can successfully stalk and prepare to shoot a European dictator. Supposedly interested only in the hunt for its own sake, he convinces himself that he does not intend to actually pull the trigger. First published in paperbook form in 1939.

And, there was a BBC radio drama version too (also available at RadioArchive.cc)!

BBC Radio 4Rogue Male
Based on the novel by Geoffrey Household; Performed by a full cast
1 Broadcast – Approx. 90 Minutes [RADIO DRAMA]
Broadcaster: BBC Radio 4
Broadcast: 1989
Starring Simon Cadell and David Googe.

Other radio drama adaptations include:

SuspenseSuspense – Rogue Male
Based on the novel by Geoffrey Household; Performed by a full cast
1 |MP3| – Approx. 30 Minutes [RADIO DRAMA]
Broadcaster: CBS Radio
Broadcast: December 31st 1951
Provider: Archive.org
Stars Herbert Marshall and Ben Wright.

Everything For The BoysEverything For The Boys – Rogue Male
Based on the novel by Geoffrey Household; Adapted by Arch Oboler; Performed by a full cast
1 Broadcast – Approx. 30 Minutes [RADIO DRAMA]*
Broadcaster: NBC Radio
Broadcast: 1944
Starring Ronald Colman and Ida Lupino.
*This is a lost broadcast, no known copies now exist.

And I should also mention, that a sequel, Rogue Justice, first published in 1982, was also broadcast on BBC Radio 7 earlier this year as a five-part abridged reading (also read by Jayston).

Neat eh?

Posted by Jesse Willis