M (1931)

Passed   |    |  Crime, Mystery, Thriller


M (1931) Poster

When the police in a German city are unable to catch a child-murderer, other criminals join in the manhunt.


8.3/10
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  • Peter Lorre in M (1931)
  • Peter Lorre in M (1931)
  • M (1931)
  • Peter Lorre in M (1931)
  • M (1931)
  • Inge Landgut in M (1931)

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2 May 2003 | FilmOtaku
8
| German Expressionism at its cinematic best
Being a huge fan of German Expressionist art, I'm naturally drawn to the films of Fritz Lang. I recently was able to see the restored version of "Metropolis" on the big screen, and was delighted to see "M" on the Sundance channel - especially since it was the uncut version. M follows the trail of a child killer (Peter Lorre), sought both by the police and the members of the underworld whose businesses are being effected by the investigation.

This film is ground-breaking for many reasons: It is Fritz Lang's first talking picture, it is one of the first in the serial killer genre and it was overtly anti-Nazi. This film was banned in Germany shortly after it premiered, and Fritz Lang and Peter Lorre, both Jews, soon fled the country. It has superb acting (most notably, Peter Lorre's trial scene in the catacombs) and very stark yet at times gritty cinematography. The story is indeed suspenseful and at times, very creepy (what whistling child killer isn't?). The entire movie, however is extremely thought-provoking and challenging, much like the German Expressionist movement itself.

This is not a movie for everyone; some may find it boring, some may find it too abstract. It also has one of the most bizarre shots I've ever seen in film - essentially it's a 30 second shot of the police inspector talking on the phone, but you're under his desk and looking up his pants leg. It actually kind of baffled me and made me chuckle for a second, but it was avant garde if anything.

To those who appreciate early cinema that truly makes you think, both about the film and the subtext with which it was written and filmed, it is a must-see.

--Shelly

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Box Office

Opening Weekend USA:

$6,123 17 March 2013

Gross USA:

$35,566

Cumulative Worldwide Gross:

$35,566

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