Fritz Lang's classic early talkie crime melodrama is set in 1931 Berlin. The police are anxious to capture an elusive child murderer (Peter Lorre), and they begin rounding up every criminal in town. The underworld leaders decide to take the heat off their activities by catching the child killer themselves. Once the killer is fingered, he is marked with the letter "M" chalked on his back. He is tracked down and captured by the combined forces of the Berlin criminal community, who put him on trial for his life in a kangaroo court. The killer pleads for mercy, whining that he can't control his homicidal instincts. The police close in and rescue the killer from the underworld so that he can stand trial again in "respectable" circumstances. Some prints of the film end with a caution to the audience to watch after their children more carefully. Filmed in Germany, M was the film that solidified Fritz Lang's reputation with American audiences, and it also made a star out of Peter Lorre (previously a specialist in comedy roles!). M was remade by Hollywood in 1951, with David Wayne giving a serviceable performance as the killer.
Audio commentary by german film scholars Anton Kaes and Eric Rentschler; The long-lost english-language version of m, from a nitrate print preserved by the british film institute; Conversation with Fritz-lang, a 50-minute film by William Friendkin; Claude Chabrol's M Le Mandit, a short film inspired by William Friedkin; Claude Chabrol's M Le Mandit, a short film inspired by M, plus a video interview with Chabrol about Lang's filmmaking techniques; Video interview with Harold Nebenzal, son of M producer Seymour Nebenzal; Classroom audiotapes of M editor Paul Falkenberg discussing the film and its history, set to clips from the movie; Documentary on physical history of M, from production to distribution to digital restoration; Gallery of behind-the-scenes photographs and production sketches; Plus: a booklet featuring as essay by film critic Stanley Kauffman, the script for a missing scene, three contemporaneous newspaper articles, and a 1963 interview with Lang
M, directed by Fritz Lang and starring Peter Lorre is one of the seminal films in the development of the arts in the time before World War II in Germany. The Edvard Grieg music will stay in your mind long after viewing M. It is an incredible example of German Expressionist filmmaking that ever after 80+ years is still amazining moving. -- It is a must for any film student or for anyone who just enjoys film as art.
More than 1 year ago
Fritz Lang, a well established film director in the silent age of cinema, does not disappoint in his first "talky" film... While his visuals remained just as astonishing as in his silent films, the sound was practically a character itself. The sounds were not just a background piece to this film, but used brilliantly to establish themes and drop subtle (and not-so-subtle) hints to the viewer.
"M" is a morally ambiguous film that deals with very difficult subject matter - one that is arguably still taboo today. It is a deep examination into the mind of a serial killer and also into the minds of a town throw into a frenzy...
Peter Lorre certainly steals the show, but fantastic performances are not hard to come by in this movie... as displayed by the masterful Gustaf Gründgens.
Just check it out... Trust me, you won't be disappointed.