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Joseph Goebbels saw the film and wanted its director to administer the Third Reich’s film program. Stanley Kubrick saw the film and based his Dr. Strangelove character on one of its villains, the mad scientist Rotwang. Madonna saw the film and patterned her “Express Yourself” video on it. The film, directed by Fritz Lang, is Metropolis (1927). Its images—a robot goddess burning in a bonfire, an underground city’s children threatened by rising flood waters—are sublime, though its story is melodramatic: In 2027, gleaming Metropolis is kept humming by cowed slaves who toil, ceaselessly, beneath it. A man from above falls in love with a woman from below, and the social order shifts. An art director’s dream, Metropolis also showcases one of the silent age’s greatest starlets: Brigitte Helm, playing both a good girl and her evil doppleganger. Like the rest of the film, she’s chilling, sexy, and superb. At 6:30 p.m. at the National Theatre’s Hayes Gallery, 1321 Pennsylvania Ave. NW. Free. (202) 783-3372. (Roberto Aguirre-Sacasa)