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 overview, first billed only:
Inspector Carney
Charlie Marshall
Dan Langley
Police Lt. Becker
Blind Baloon Vendor
Police Chief Regan
Janine Perreau ...
The Last Little Girl
Leonard Bremen ...
Lemke (as Lennie Bremen)
Benny Burt ...
Bernard Szold ...
Bradbury Bldg. Watchman


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

Plot Summary | Add Synopsis


DARING! For the first time, the screen speaks of... See more »


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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


Sound Mix:

(RCA Sound System)

Aspect Ratio:

1.37 : 1
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Did You Know?


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 »


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 »


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...
See more »


Remake of M (1931) 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.

12 of 23 people found this review helpful.  Was this review helpful to you?

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