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|Index||266 reviews in total|
A superb film and anyone with an eye for creative filming will see the details. The scene where M spots a new victim in the reflection of a shop window is wonderfully filmed. Another great sequence is the alarm system being activated during a factory break and enter - the amazing details shows the opening of a window triggering a sensor which in turn sets of an alarm at the police station, where a light flashes above a number. Police then go to a card file system, look up that number and straight away know which window in which building and the address within seconds of the window being forced. I never knew they had such systems in 1931 - but hey did and the detail with which the sequence is filmed in remarkable. A must see!
In addition to everything wonderful about the film already mentioned was the reflection of society it portrayed. A strong minded, family oriented society who had a "sub society" who felt they had the right to convict the criminally insane but who cowed totally to the authority of the police. Interesting when you see how life unfolded in the subsequent 30 years! Next most interesting to me was Lorre's absolutely perfect depiction of a compulsively motivated human. I agree this film should be ranked as one of the top 10 of all times though I only recently discovered it by accident. Using the pictures of the victims is more like a modern TV reenactment than the first "talkie" for a nation. Wonderful movie...
My father has often told me about this movie. It's been available for next to nothing at the local DVD/CD shop here for longer than I can remember, and not long ago, I finally pulled myself together and bought it. Today, we sat down to watch it. I must say, this movie astounded and impressed me. From the first frame, it had me. It gripped me and didn't let go until the ending... if even then. If I'm not still in its clutches. The plot is excellent, and the way it's told is very interesting. It develops constantly, though never too quickly; the film never stands still, yet never moves too fast, either. The pacing is among the best in any of the films I've watched... and that list count nears one thousand titles(as I'm writing this, I'm nearing my way to 700 written reviews... but I've got a good 17 years of watching movies prior to my starting to comment on them). The acting is incredible. I can't think of a single performance I found anything less than flawless. The characters are well-written, credible and interesting. The cinematography is nothing short of amazing. The way they created all those great shots, be it stationary or those with movement, at that time, with that equipment... magnificent work. Fritz (either Lang or the cinematographer, they share a first name) knows his way around cameras, and knows when to use movement... and, perhaps more importantly, when not to. This film has its share of both kinds of shots, and both work perfectly. The film uses the art of hinting to the fullest; something Hitchcock, the very master of suspense, would later employ, in huge thrillers such as Psycho. Shadows, suggestive camera movements, a tiny movement in body or face... things that, in a film of today, would be simply not be found. The silent and unclear would replaced by loud and obvious. One of the most important things to note about this film is how little it says outright... and how much it merely... hints. A careful, subtle remark, presented casually... in place of an absolute. Having recently watched Scarface, a film from the same period(it was released about a year later) which leaves little to be pondered over by the viewer(and much to be desired in that very area), the contrast between an open movie and a closed one is blatantly obvious. There is much to debate over and consider in this film. It reminded me of Alejandro Amenábar - a man whom I very much admire - the Spanish director who also employs few definite truths in his films. It's not up to the director to decide what is right... but rather us, the viewers, the movie-going audience. Alejandro knows that. So did Fritz. I will have to watch more films of his. Another thing is the level of detail in this film... reminiscent of Kubrick, another master of the art of film-making, this film is packed with detail. So many seemingly meaningless, but endlessly insightful little things. A scene that shows shady types idle... a subtle touch that would be edited out as early as during the script-writing phase of most newer movies... characters that are seen once and then never again... the examples are endless. Fortunately, this review isn't that, and on that note, I'll refrain from further listing of them. The dialog is well-written and well-delivered. If you can, get a original version of this film... not a dubbed one. No matter how awful you are at the language, it just fits better in German. Just make sure you've got good subtitles... I myself am rather hopelessly poor at the language, and I noticed that many times, the lazy Danish translator skipped entire sentences(though I noticed it to be prominently used words and sentences, that, when uttered and translated once, were from then on left to only be heard, and not seen, which I guess is at least more acceptable than the worse alternatives). This film is full of suspense, and some of the best I've ever seen. Again, I would guess that Mr. Hitchcock took a lesson or two from Lang and this film. I was on the edge of my seat for just about all of this, and I couldn't have taken my eyes off it had the house been on fire. Well, I might've gotten up, once my chair was caught in the flames. Last but not least... the film-noir qualities. The interplay of light and dark, the dreary atmosphere and the tone... all spot-on. The film deals with several very difficult subjects... not to be mentioned here. I suggest you watch it for yourself and make up your own mind about each of them. Lang won't force his opinion on you. For such an old film, this is really not terribly dated... apart from some things that have obviously changed over the 75 years, three generations, yes, three quarters of a century that has passed, but they're really not that obvious. Had this film been made today, little would have to be changed. Sadly, it would not get made today... for many reasons. Unless it was on the indie scene, this simply would not be made. I can't see any studio accepting it as profitable. By today's standards, it's event-less, tame and, well, black and white. Of course, that says quite a lot more about today's standards(which, in my humble opinion, are far, far lower, and, indeed, too low) than the quality of this film, which is impeccable. I recommend this to any fan of Lorre, Lang and noir. Heck, crime, thriller and suspense fans will enjoy it as well. As would most anyone, really, who aren't too used to the films of today to enjoy an old great work. 10/10
peter Lorre is the best child serial killer cinema can get he is scycotic and childish at the same time. If your a classic movie fan like me this is the scariest it gets. May not be suitable for children end less they've any other Barris Karloff or peter Lorre movie. This movie will leave you with nightmares for the rest of your life. Its a movie that you'll get attached to. M is worth buying if your a scary movie fan or a peter Lorre fan. The only problem is its a little too scary and thrilling. Its scary but not too jumpy at the same time. The police are'not the only ones after th is criminal. Thats all I'm going to tell you besides its movie you will get addicted to and you will want to watch again and again.
I thoroughly enjoyed watching this film. Seeing Peter Lorre act and
knowing what his film career was launched into, I find this thrilling
indeed. To have this movie in color would have spoiled the effects, the
surroundings, and suspense. The impassioned pleas both for and against
the child murderer were astounding.
Put this into today's context, and look how society has come to view the criminals - more like victims of _________ (fill in the blank, most anything goes these days) - childhood trauma, voices in the head, demons chasing us, medications, you name it...
I highly recommend this film to anyone who loves classic films. They would not be disappointed.
"M" is a great movie ahead of its time. I saw this in Film Analysis class last year and it was one of the few black and white films that actually kept my interest. It is full of controversial topics and thrilling scenes that kept my eyes glued to the screen. There are numerous non speaking scenes that may seem to drag but the scenes speaks volumes in the way the actors performed! Imagination is definitely important because there are numerous scenes of violence/darkness that aren't shown. Maybe it was because this movie was made in 30s or maybe it was censored but Fritz Lang does a great job in telling the story. Just have to pay attention or you'll miss some details. The mystery and drama between numerous characters is intense. I had no problem following the movie despite it being in German language. Subtitles were not necessary to enjoy and understand the masterpiece painted by Lang!
I am not much for sub-titled movies, but this movie is rated at least
50th best of all-time no matter where you look, so my curiosity drove
me to watch it this morning on commercial free TCM.
I was astounded at how well filmed it was (at least in the version I saw), and at how magnificently the plotting and acting were performed. I read all of the reviews here before watching (even the techno-babble ones) so I was well prepared to be critical.
In the end result I agree totally with its rating. It is astounding that in the 73 years that have passed, that less than 50 movies have ever been created that are critically acclaimed as being "better".
Oddly enough, this movie does not appear anywhere in the AFI's list. But "Singing in the Rain" it is not.
I found this movie's theme as modern in 2004 as it was in 1931. The social issues raised are every bit as fresh today as back then. I liked how "electronically" and technologically modern the movie was...for example, phones were used as often in the movie as cell phones are today; the police used "labs" and fingerprinting, and psychological experts, and had in-depth research facilities for searching records. When certain people wanted to synchronize their watches, they called the operator for the correct time.
Check out the scene where the "criminals" are stalking the killer in the office building, and one of their experts discovers something like "this building has a state-of-the-art alarm mechanism, whereby if the guards don't punch their rounds into the clock, a signal will be sent to the police". Sure enough it does happen, and a signal similar to a ticker tape is sent to the police headquarters, and not only shows the alarm, but the exact location and room where the alarm is triggered from.
I got so mesmerized at some points I forgot to read the sub-titles. I was a little surprised at its abrupt ending, but in 1931, maybe the statement "we should all watch our children better" was as wise and profound as you can get.
I know that director Fritz Lang and actor Peter Lorre "got outa town" to Hollywood after this movie, as they were both Jewish. But Hitler was apparently a fan of theirs, and used one of the Peter Lorre scenes as propaganda against the Jews in 1940 (out of context).
Imagine people watching this movie in the year 2131 (which they will), and what they will be able to understand about life 200 years previous. It would be similar to us watching the Revolutionary War on DVD...but I digress.:) Watch this movie if you get a chance!
The comments I've read here pretty much nail how important this film truly
is...from subject matter to stark cinematography, this movie has been the
source material for many future films. Fritz Lang was a master and his
approach to this movie (well..all his work) was as avant garde as anything
in its day (save maybe for the work of Luis Buñuel).
But the thing the truly sends this picture to the upper echelon of great films is the finest performance of Lorre's great career. Much has been said of the trail scene...I won't rehash those comments other than to say if you want to watch what is one of the single greatest performances ever committed to film, start right here! Lorre is that good in this.
One other note....the Criterion Collection DVD of "M" is simply wonderful, and one that belongs in the collection of any serious movie buff.
One of the most influential films ever, almost every filmed story of a
Psychotic killer owes it's existence to this movie. The suspensful plot,
stunning camera work, and superb acting combine to produce a genuine
Every Psychological thriller movie, every serial killer movie, every slasher film, owes something to this masterpiece of German cinema. From the stark, atmospheric, almost expressionistic look of the film; to the tightly woven plot, this one is great. While the movie is over seventy years old, the subject matter is timeless, and is as capable of striking fear into people's hearts today as it was in 1931.
While I won't divulge any of the plot, I cannot recommend this one highly enough. And do yourself a favor; get the subtitled version. Dubbing ruins the emotion and cadence in the character's voices, and believe me, Peter Lorre's performance in the climactic scene must be experienced in it's original form.
My Rating (nn/100): 100
John P. Stevenson-- Unimonster
(As originally posted on Horror-Web.com)
If you like Hitchcock, you'll love "M" as Hitchcock was director Lang's student and protege. In fact, many of the scenes in Lang's movies have been transposed (I dare not say stolen) into Hitchcock's work. Certainly, without Lang, we'd have no Hitchcock. And this is just as much a classic as any Hitchcock. At the time sound was just moving into studios, Lang used it as a mere accent to the movie not as a character of it. In otherwords, minimum sound save that used to heighten suspense and drama--no music--save that of the whistling the killer would hum. And what a killer. In 1931 we have a story, starring Peter Lorre--the great--as the serial killer of small children- a terrifying subject now, but especially then. When you watch, notice how certain scenes are shot including the place setting scene and when Elsie is playing with the ball--will she or won't she? Lang's directing and choices of allusion over direct expression make every moment a "what's going to happen next" moment. At first you get annoyed with the lack of sound but then realize that that is exactly what is producing the effect- Lang was a genius. Also, last few scenes are famous and should be thought about with deep philosophical pondering as great questions are raised. I highly suggest as this movie deserves nothing less then an A and a name on the list of greatest movies of all time.
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