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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Cast

Cast overview, first billed only:
...
...
Inspector Carney
...
Charlie Marshall
...
Dan Langley
...
Police 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 (as Lennie Bremen)
Benny Burt ...
Jansen
Bernard Szold ...
Bradbury Bldg. Watchman
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Storyline

There is a baby killer loose and the police can't find him. He is a sick, psychotic and confused individual, though guilty. The increased police activity trying to find the baby killer is interfering with the mob's criminal activities. The gangsters are not pleased the intense police attention so the mob decides to find him themselves. The mob bosses send the mobsters out to find him. He is found and the young girl he grabbed is saved. A mock trial is conducted in the basement of a parking garage in front of mass of gangsters who captured him and citizens demanding blood. The baby criminal is defended by a lawyer provided by the mob boss. As the police show up, the mob boss shoots the lawyer defending the baby killer because he is doing too good of a job defending the baby killer. Both the mob boss and the baby killer are taken into custody by the police for justice. As the movie ends and the guilty are led out of the parking garage, we hear the spooky single tune played on a flute ... Written by Hal Wigoda

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Details

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Release Date:

March 1951 (USA)  »

Also Known As:

M le maudit  »

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Technical Specs

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Sound Mix:

(RCA Sound System)

Aspect Ratio:

1.37 : 1
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Did You Know?

Trivia

At 00:33 minutes, when the mobster is recruiting homeless men as lookouts, there are two signs on the alley wall behind him. The smaller, at upper left, reads: "Beware of Sneak Thieves". The large calligraphy reads: "When did you write to your mother last?". The latter was a popular choice for homeless missions of the day. See more »

Goofs

When the man puts the "M" on his palm, then transfers the mark to Harrow's back, then when we see the mark, it's not only way too sharp and bright for such a transfer, it's also about twice the size of the man's hand. See more »

Quotes

Police Chief Regan: I tell you, Mayor, we're doing everything possible. We may pick up that murderer in the next five minutes or we may never find him. All we can do is follow every lead.
The Mayor: You're not dealing with a punk or a tin horn, usual procedure won't work! Catching this man is going to take brains, imagination.
Police Chief Regan: Maybe you have some ideas we can use.
The Mayor: IDEAS! I've got a million of them! It's not my job to run this department, it's yours! I've got a city to run, this just one department. People in this city depend...
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Connections

Referenced in The Player (1992) See more »

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User Reviews

 
not quite as bad as its reputation
4 July 2009 | by (United Kingdom) – See all my reviews

Fritz Lang's classic 'M' back in the 1930s is a well-regarded classic, which brought Peter Lorre to prominence and a career in Hollywood.

This film, made twenty years later by Joseph Losey, starred light comedian David Wayne as the child-killer, and has much of the same storyline and set-pieces as its predecessor. But is it any good? It has its chilling moments - notably the ones involving the plasticine figure and the bird at the cafe - and Wayne, in a largely silent part, is surprisingly good. But much of the film is a copy of the original, and this lessens its impact. Also, the character of the lawyer who has gone to drink is too prominent, and the underworld search for the murderer who threatens their operation doesn't quite fit on the mean streets of LA, where it did in Germany.

Not as bad as I'd heard, in fact this film is really quite good, but some bad editing decisions (acknowledged at the time of its release by Losey) have done damage. It deserves a nod for unusual casting though.


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