One of the most compelling scenes in early cinema occurs in Fritz Lang's Metropolis (1927), shortly after Freder descends into the city controlled by his ruthless father.

The protagonist watches his father's workers frantically push dial hands back and forth, as an instrument shows the great machine reaching critical pressure. As the machinery explodes, Freder looks through the smoke and sees the machine transformed into a giant hellish monster, spewing fire and devouring workers.

"Moloch!" Freder exclaims as huge columns of workers march uniformly into the cavernous maw of the enormous beast. Suddenly, Freder reconnects with reality and the Ammonite god is transformed back into a machine, the columns of doomed men replaced with scrambling workers evacuating the dead and wounded.

Freder sprints out of the machine rooms to his car. Reborn, he tells his driver,

"To the new Tower of Babel! To my father!"

Mo"loch (?), n. [Heb. molek king.]

1. Script.

The fire god of the Ammonites in Canaan, to whom human sacrifices were offered; Molech. Also applied figuratively.

2. Zool.

A spiny Australian lizard (Moloch horridus). The horns on the head and numerous spines on the body give it a most formidable appearance.

<-- illustr. of Moloch. -->

 

© Webster 1913.

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