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M (1951)

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Ratings: 6.9/10 from 491 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)

M (1951) on IMDb 6.9/10

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Cast overview, first billed only:
Howard Da Silva ...
Inspector Carney
Charlie Marshall, crime boss
Luther Adler ...
Dan Langley
Steve Brodie ...
Lt. Becker
Glenn Anders ...
Walter Burke ...
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


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 <>

Plot Summary | Add Synopsis


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Release Date:

March 1951 (USA)  »

Also Known As:

M  »

Company Credits

Production Co:

Show detailed on  »

Technical Specs


Sound Mix:

(RCA Sound System)

Aspect Ratio:

1.37 : 1
See  »

Did You Know?


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

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User Reviews

Joseph, you're good but you're no Fritz Lang.
17 June 2001 | by (Vancouver, Canada) – See all my reviews

***SPOILERS*** ***SPOILERS*** This is a very hard film to see, and after screening it I know why. Virtually a scene for scene remake of Fritz Lang's 1931 classic (his first talkie by the way) but director Joseph Losey (best remembered for THE SERVANT, 1961) has added some touches which make the film even more disturbing. The killer (David Wayne in the role that made Peter Lorre a European star) takes the shoes from the children he kills thus adding fetishism and paedophilia to his homicidal urges. Berlin's organised underworld is replaced by a Mafia-style boss who recruits teenage thugs, replacing the Beggars Union from the original film, to track down the killer who blends in so well with the regular populace. Meanwhile the public are whipped into lynch mob frenzy by newspaper headlines and many innocent people nearly become victims of mob mentality. Even camera angles from the original are copied in these quick vignettes. Once again the killer's undoing is the blind beggar who recognises his whistling. (For you trivia buffs, the blind beggar this time is played by John Miljan who in 1930 was the DA who yanked of Mrs. O'Grady's wig and exposed Lon Chaney Sr in the courtroom scene of THE UNHOLY THREE.) San Francisco's famous Bradbury Building, also the site of the "Outer Limits" episode "Demon With A Glass Hand", is where the killer takes refuge before being captured by the criminals of the city. Once again we explore the social and ethical implications of their actions. Many of the crooks, prostitutes and lowlifes are genuinely appalled by the actions of the child murderer but many others are just miffed because of the increased police activity that keeps them from "working". In that respect we can agree with the killer's cry (from Lang's version) "You wouldn't have to do this if you could keep your hands off things, if you worked! But I! I cannot help myself! The fire, the voices, the torment!" Losey almost makes a critical error by introducing the character of the drunken, has-been lawyer so early in the film and allowing him to pop up throughout the story until he becomes the reluctant defence counsel for the killer at the end. The killer and the hunt for him should be the main focus of the picture and by putting such emphasis on the lawyer character the powerful ending of the film is blunted. David Wayne's own speech to the kangaroo court, what should have been a highly dramatic moment, is reduced to a few lines and overshadowed by the lawyer (Luther Adler, admittedly giving a good performance) delineating his own life and how he came to be such a loser that we almost forget about the man whose actions we have been following since the film began! Nice try Joseph but you should have left a classic alone.

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