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M (1951)

6.9
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Ratings: 6.9/10 from 521 users  
Reviews: 14 user | 10 critic

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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Title: M (1951)

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Cast

Cast overview, first billed only:
...
Howard Da Silva ...
Inspector Carney
...
Charlie Marshall, crime boss
...
Dan Langley
Steve Brodie ...
Lt. Becker
...
Pottsy
Glenn Anders ...
Riggert
...
Sutro
Walter Burke ...
MacMahan
John Miljan ...
Blind Baloon Vendor
Roy Engel ...
Police Chief Regan
Janine Perreau ...
The Last Little Girl
Leonard Bremen ...
Lemke, thug left behind in Bradbury Bldg. (as Lennie Bremen)
Benny Burt ...
Jansen, drunk thug outside Bradbury Bldg.
Bernard Szold ...
Bradbury Bldg. Watchman
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Storyline

Remake of the 1931 original. Someone is murdering children in a German city. The Police search is so intense, it is disturbing the 'normal' criminals, and the local hoods decide to help find the murderer as quickly as possible. Written by Colin Tinto <cst@imdb.com>

Plot Summary | Add Synopsis


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Details

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Release Date:

March 1951 (USA)  »

Also Known As:

M le maudit  »

Company Credits

Production Co:

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Technical Specs

Runtime:

Sound Mix:

(RCA Sound System)

Aspect Ratio:

1.37 : 1
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Connections

Referenced in Henri Langlois: The Phantom of the Cinémathèque (2004) See more »

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User Reviews

 
M (Joseph Losey, 1951) ***
5 July 2009 | by (Naxxar, Malta) – See all my reviews

I commemorated the 25th anniversary from the death of director Joseph Losey (which occurred on 22nd June 1984) by watching his two best (and, ironically, rarest) Hollywood movies, both noirs made in 1951 – THE PROWLER and M. Fritz Lang's original 1931 version of the latter is not only generally considered to be its director's masterpiece but, on a personal note, is also included in my all-time Top 20 movies. Therefore, I had always been particularly interested in seeing how Losey (another director I admire a great deal) had tackled the daunting task of remaking – and relocating to L.A. – such an iconic German movie. Boasting the original's own producer, Seymour Nebenzal, the 1951 remake has been almost impossible to see and, actually, I only managed to track down a mediocre-looking print a few months ago; even so, I am certainly grateful to have been given the opportunity to catch up with it…especially in view of the fact that Sony's long-rumored Joseph Losey box set on R1 did not materialize after all! Perhaps inevitably, the film's initial stages (the murder of little Elsie) closely resemble those of Lang's film – even down to the choice of camera set-ups: the high angle shot down an eerily desolate flight of stairs, the close-up of the vacant breakfast table, the tell-tale shots of a solitary flying balloon and a rolling ball – but Losey nevertheless manages to gradually make the film his own, culminating in a trademark hysterical finale that highlights a new character not featured in the original: Luther Adler's alcoholic attorney who is, ill-advisedly, moved to turn against his boss Martin Gabel after the baby-killer's confession. David Wayne – best-known until then for playing lightly comic roles – is quite good in his own right (especially during the aforementioned trial sequence) if, understandably, falling short of Peter Lorre's unforgettable original characterization; similarly (and effectively) cast against type, Howard Da Silva makes for a fine Chief of Police, while the sterling supporting cast includes Raymond Burr (also atypically amusing as a raspy-voiced, leading underworld thug), Steve Brodie (as a sadistic cop), Glenn Anders and Jim Backus (as the mayor)! Interestingly enough, two directors-to-be were employed in minor capacities on this film: assistant director Robert Aldrich and script supervisor Don Weis. Allegedly, Fritz Lang balked at Nebenzal's offer to direct the remake himself and never forgave Losey for daring to touch his magnum opus…he must have conveniently forgotten the fact that he had himself remade in Hollywood two Jean Renoir classics – LA CHIENNE (1931) and LA BETE HUMAINE (1938) – as SCARLET STREET (1945) and HUMAN DESIRE (1954) respectively!


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