M (1951)

Not Rated   |    |  Drama, Film-Noir, Thriller

M (1951) Poster

In this Americanization of the 1931 German thriller, both the police and the criminal underworld stalk a mysterious killer who preys on small children.


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5 May 2016 | Michael_Elliott
Impressive Remake of the Lang Classic
M (1951)

*** (out of 4)

A child killer is stalking the streets and soon the police are everywhere trying to catch him. This means that the police are stalking the low-life criminals and the crime bosses grow tired of it because it's costing them business. In order to get their business back, the crime bosses set out to catch the killer.

Fritz Lang's 1931 film M is without question one of the greatest and most disturbing movies ever made. This 1951 remake from Joseph Losey went decades without being seen but a recent restoration has it available for fans to finally catch. Is it a worthy remake? It absolutely is a winning gem. Some people have called it a film noir but I really don't agree with that. The film is very much like the original in that it has you who the real monsters are out in the world.

This film really shocked me on a couple levels. For starters, this was made in 1951 and I was shocked at how suggestive the material was. The early scenes show the killer stalking various little girls of all ages and race. The film certainly puts it in your face that this is a pervert and it doesn't shy away from this guy being attracted to them. Unlike the first film this one tries to explain why the killer is this way and of course it's the hatred of his mother.

The cinematography is a major plus and there's no question that Losey has great control of everything going on. There's a very long sequence inside a shopping center where the criminals are searching for the killer and the way this sequence is edited was just flawlessly done. Another major plus were the performances with everyone from a large role to a small one doing a great job. David Wayne plays the killer and brings a certain coldness to the role as well as a creepy undertone.

M has been forgotten over the years due to it being unavailable but now that it's making the rounds I can't help but think that it's reputation is going to improve. It's certainly not on the same level as the Lang film but it's still quite impressive.

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