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M (1951)

6.9
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Ratings: 6.9/10 from 545 users  
Reviews: 15 user | 11 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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(scenario revisions), (scenario revisions), 3 more credits »
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Title: M (1951)

M (1951) on IMDb 6.9/10

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M (1931)
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The Lawless (1950)
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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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Language:

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

References The Red Shoes (1948) See more »

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User Reviews

 
Surprisingly good
3 July 2004 | by (Los Angeles, California) – See all my reviews

Seymour Nebenzal didn't have an especially illustrious career as a producer, either in Europe or the United States. Two of his American movies, in fact, SIREN OF ATLANTIS and this one, were remakes of movies he had produced in Europe. But in this case, he hired the right director.

Was it the growing Blacklist that resulted in this movie having no writing credits on screen? Perhaps, but also perhaps not, as the soon-to-be-blacklisted Howard da Silva and Joseph Losey both use their own names.

Losey and his team make excellent use of numerous Los Angeles locations, including Angel's Flight, Bunker Hill, the Bradbury Building (which is identified by name and location) and what seems to be that old amusement park in Long Beach, although what's seen here could be Venice.

David Wayne is fine as the disturbed child killer, and delivers the required final act speech very well. But he doesn't have the power and poetry of Lorre's performance--but then who in Hollywood in 1951 would have? The movie still has some of the comedy of Lang's original, but it's not as dry and sardonic, and there isn't as much of it. The score isn't good, and shoves the movie even more firmly in the direction of the melodrama it keeps threatening to become.

The very last shot is oddly theatrical in a literal sense: it looks like it is being performed on a stage. And I'm not sure what the point of the drunken lawyer trying to grasp a bit of his former glory really was. However, this element merely weakens the film, it doesn't destroy it.

No, this isn't as good as Lang's original, but Lang's original is perhaps the best film of a great director. It's a classic in almost every regard. This version of "M" is an interesting and largely successful attempt at adapting the themes and ideas of the original to Los Angeles, and to 1950s Hollywood. Naturally there are some weaknesses, but the movie is brisk and engrossing, and certainly doesn't deserve the obscurity into which it has fallen.

Some condemn the film merely for being a remake, but remakes have always been a large part of movie history. There's little reason to object to them, especially now that the original films tend to be available on video. (In the 1930s-50s, originals were generally withdrawn.) If the remake is good, then hooray, there are now two good movies on the subject. If it's bad, then the remake will soon be forgotten.


11 of 13 people found this review helpful.  Was this review helpful to you?

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Bradbury Bldg nestudhalter
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