8.4/10
104,680
296 user 193 critic

(1931)

Not Rated | | Crime, Drama, Mystery | 31 August 1931 (Sweden)
When the police in a German city are unable to catch a child-murderer, other criminals join in the manhunt.

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Cast

Cast overview, first billed only:
...
Ellen Widmann ...
...
...
Theodor Loos ...
...
Friedrich Gnaß ...
Fritz Odemar ...
...
...
Rudolf Blümner ...
...
Franz Stein ...
Ernst Stahl-Nachbaur ...
Gerhard Bienert ...
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Storyline

In Germany, Hans Beckert is an unknown killer of girls. He whistles Edvard Grieg's 'In The Hall of the Mountain King', from the 'Peer Gynt' Suite I Op. 46 while attracting the little girls for death. The police force pressed by the Minister give its best effort trying unsuccessfully to arrest the serial killer. The organized crime has great losses due to the intense search and siege of the police and decides to chase the murderer, with the support of the beggars association. They catch Hans and briefly judge him. Written by Claudio Carvalho, Rio de Janeiro, Brazil

Plot Summary | Plot Synopsis


Certificate:

Not Rated | See all certifications »

Parents Guide:

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Details

Country:

Language:

Release Date:

31 August 1931 (Sweden)  »

Also Known As:

M  »

Box Office

Opening Weekend:

$6,123 (USA) (15 March 2013)

Gross:

$28,877 (USA) (31 May 2013)
 »

Company Credits

Production Co:

 »
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Technical Specs

Runtime:

| (2004 Criterion DVD edition) | (2000 restored) | (re-release)

Sound Mix:

Aspect Ratio:

1.19 : 1
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Did You Know?

Trivia

Fritz Lang's first sound film. See more »

Quotes

Hans Beckert: I can't help what I do! I can't help it, I can't...
Criminal: The old story! We never can help it in court!
Hans Beckert: What do you know about it? Who are you anyway? Who are you? Criminals? Are you proud of yourselves? Proud of breaking safes or cheating at cards? Things you could just as well keep your fingers off. You wouldn't need to do all that if you'd learn a proper trade or if you'd work. If you weren't a bunch of lazy bastards. But I... I can't help myself! I have no control over this, this evil thing ...
[...]
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Crazy Credits

All of the original credits appear only in the beginning with no music. See more »

Connections

Referenced in Deuce Bigalow: European Gigolo (2005) See more »

Soundtracks

La Marseillaise
(uncredited)
Written by Claude Joseph Rouget de Lisle
Performed by Peter Lorre
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Frequently Asked Questions

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User Reviews

 
60 years old, and still uber-suspenseful

The opening scene of this movie is the first clue to its near perfection – A mother preparing dinner for her child, waiting anxiously for her to return from school. Her hope, and then distress as she hears people pass outside her door. While down in the streets of Berlin, her daughter is receiving a balloon from a strange man in a long black coat. We know what's going to happen, but it's still horrific to watch.

Fritz Lang, you cinematic god! A simple story of the underworld, the police, and a single man holding an entire city hostage, and done with such precision and pre-noir darkness that is oozes creepy suspense from beginning to end.

But this movie is not so simple as the police inspectors trying to catch a devious murderer – it's about the mob, employing its network of beggars and petty thieves also trying to bring the killer to their own brand of justice. Apparently, the police crackdown caused by the murders is bad for business – so the mob begins to track him down as well.

It's not only a great crime story, and perhaps the first physiological thriller (the murderer is schizophrenic) but there's comments to be made here about the nature of justice, and who should best dispense it.

In all, not only a trail-blazing classic, but THE trail-blazing classic.


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