The 15th Reyner Banham Memorial Lecture took place at the V&A last week, as usual.What was unusual was the subject, delivered courtesy of Royal College of Art rector Sir Christopher Frayling.
Here is the lecture in a nutshell: 'The evil design genius behind the Modernist metropolis of 1926 in Fritz Lang's film was Dr Rotwang. He laid down the ground rules for future cinematic depictions of the perils of over-reaching, from Frankenstein to Dr Strangelove.
H G Wells reacted against his tendency in Things to Come, released 10 years after Metropolis. But others had a soft spot for Dr Rotwang. Fritz Lang went on to make Woman in the Moon, a celebration of Modern design, with technical advice from early rocket scientists who later went on to develop the V2 missile. Dr Strangelove was a direct descendant of Dr Rotwang, but he was a parody of Dr Werner von Braun, bringing two design traditions together. The lecture explores the twists and turns of the journey from Metropolis to Dr Strangelove, and in the process reveals a public battle for the soul of the designer.'