M remains Lang’s most universally admired film. The complexity and originality of its structure and the power of its images and sound guarantee it a place in film history.” Tom Gunning, The Films of Fritz Lang: Allegories of Vision and Modernity, 2001

Fritz Lang’s silent epics of intrigue and iniquity had all but invented the crime genre on film, and with he laid the blueprint for every serial killer film that followed in its wake.

While the opening scenes – when a schoolgirl is ominously presented with a balloon by a stranger in silhouette – create an atmosphere of dread, daringly the director later establishes the killer Hans Beckert as a figure of pathos.

Lang is more concerned with a clinical examination of the cross-section of Berlin society – the politicians, the businessmen, the organised criminals – whose self-serving interests are compromised by Beckert’s freedom.

Lorre’s creepy, bulging-eyed performance as the killer who can’t help himself quickly attracted the attention of Hollywood, where he made a career playing sinister desperados.

An American remake was directed by Joseph Losey in 1951, but M’s DNA is detectable in everything from Peeping Tom (1959) to Zodiac (2007).

  • Director :
  • Fritz Lang
  • Starring :
  • Peter Lorre
  • Release Date :
  • 24 Feb 2023
  • Certificate :
  • PG
  • Rate This Film :

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