M

M

Blu-ray Disc - 2010 | German
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When a serial killer is stalking the children of the city, everyone, including the criminal underworld, wants to see him brought down.
Publisher: [New York] : Janus Films : Criterion Collection [distributor] , 2010, c1931.
Edition: Blu-ray Widescreen special ed.
ISBN: 9781604652727
1604652721
Characteristics: 1 videodisc (110 min.) : sd., b&w ; 4 3/4 in. + 1 booklet (30 p. : ill. ; 16 cm.)
Summary: When a serial killer is stalking the children of the city, everyone, including the criminal underworld, wants to see him brought down.
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Fuzzy_Wuzzy
Nov 17, 2017

With 1931's "M" now being 86 years old - Believe me - I really did try to look beyond its flaws (etc.) and cut it some slack.

But, I have to be honest with my opinion here and say that (at 110 minutes) this German production about a paedophile serial-killer seriously cried out for some major editing. It really did.

Of course - It certainly didn't help matters much that (though actor Peter Lorre certainly did look the part of "M") his hammy, bug-eyed, scenery-chewing performance in his final scenes was so agonizingly over-the-top that it became downright laughable to watch, in the long run.

The one real plus about this b&w picture was the impressive clarity of the print. "M's" flawless restoration was truly remarkable.

Anyway - If you happen to be a true film-buff of vintage cinema, then Fritz Lang's "M" may appeal to you more than it did me.

n
Nursebob
Nov 17, 2017

Originally banned by the Nazis, Fritz Lang’s darkly brooding tale of a murderous pedophile, part policier, part social critique, has lost none of its bite in the intervening years and Peter Lorre gives his greatest performance as Hans Beckert, a painfully withdrawn young man compelled to kill children by his “darker half”. Lang’s gorgeous B&W photography and severe camera angles lend a sense of hyperreality to the film’s Kafkaesque industrial landscapes and a few beautifully executed tracking shots, including one that actually goes between two floors, are highly innovative for the time. But the film’s true strength lies in the way it chronicles the effect of the murders on an entire society, from the mayor’s office right down to the common pickpocket---a form of mass paranoia erupts in vigilantism and hysterical accusations while the tortured Beckert himself, clueless and mentally ill, is used to illustrate the capricious nature of mob justice. Thoroughly modern themes for such an old film.

a
arnjns29
Nov 01, 2017

A bit too didactic at times, which keeps it from a perfect 10/10. Really fantastic cinematography, especially for the era. Possibly Lang's masterpiece.

s
SF_READER
May 17, 2017

listed in the 1001 Movies to See Before You Die

Fascinating early talkie. Quite creepy and historically ground-breaking for some of its cinematic techniques. A must-watch for film buffs. This is the movie that made Peter Lorre a superstar.

hania4987 Feb 18, 2014

Absolutely brilliant movie; you don't have to be a film student to appreciate it. It is worthwhile to listen to the commentary to glean historical and cinematic background. The movie is an interesting mix of realism and myth, with romanticized characters reminiscent of Runyon. The incredible images, characters, the comic touches, the use of sound and silence, the use of light and shadow are all handled masterfully. We are taught as little children not to accept candy from strangers --this movie shows you why while showing how a community reacts to these horrible local events. I will never hear that melody without thinking of this film.

p
pronto1961
Jul 28, 2013

peter lorre is brilliant. his performance in this film was the reason mothers would grab their kids and run when they saw him walking down the street (much to his dismay). the film's plot was also based in part on the activities of the dusseldorf ripper, peter kurten, who terrorised the city for the better part of a decade before turning himself in to police. but unlike lorre's tortured character, kurten was unrepentant.

Library_Dragon Apr 26, 2013

One of my favorites. Incredibly slow-moving for today's audiences, but the slow build adds that much more to the film's impact. It's completely worth the time and patience. The film is made up of strings of beautifully composed shots, full of light and darkness---and also Peter Lorre, who's an amazing actor. Gorgeous film. Fritz Lang is amazing.

s
sdelao
Apr 26, 2013

A great film with the wonderful Peter Lorre. Can't believe it was made in 1930/1931. It feels like a very current story. Great direction and performances.

brendancarlson Feb 19, 2012

Truly the difinitive classic, and a 'must see'. Be sure to insist on the CRITERION disc set as it's been fully digitally re-mastered & restored

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SF_READER
May 17, 2017

SF_READER thinks this title is suitable for 16 years and over

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