8.3/10
137,868
353 user 153 critic

(1931)

M - Eine Stadt sucht einen Mörder (original title)
Trailer
2:32 | Trailer
When the police in a German city are unable to catch a child-murderer, other criminals join in the manhunt.

Director:

Fritz Lang

Writers:

Thea von Harbou (script), Fritz Lang (script)
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Popularity
1,559 ( 1,461)
Top Rated Movies #93 | 2 wins. See more awards »

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Cast

Cast overview, first billed only:
Peter Lorre ... Hans Beckert
Ellen Widmann Ellen Widmann ... Frau Beckmann
Inge Landgut ... Elsie Beckmann
Otto Wernicke ... Inspector Karl Lohmann
Theodor Loos ... Inspector Groeber
Gustaf Gründgens ... Schränker
Friedrich Gnaß Friedrich Gnaß ... Franz
Fritz Odemar ... The Cheater
Paul Kemp ... Pickpocket with Six Watches
Theo Lingen ... Bauernfänger
Rudolf Blümner Rudolf Blümner ... Beckert's Defender
Georg John ... Blind Panhandler
Franz Stein Franz Stein ... Minister
Ernst Stahl-Nachbaur Ernst Stahl-Nachbaur ... Police Chief
Gerhard Bienert ... Criminal Secretary
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Storyline

In Germany, Hans Beckert is an unknown killer of girls. He whistles Edvard Grieg's 'In The Hall of the Mountain King', from the 'Peer Gynt' Suite I Op. 46 while attracting the little girls for death. The police force pressed by the Minister give its best effort trying unsuccessfully to arrest the serial killer. The organized crime has great losses due to the intense search and siege of the police and decides to chase the murderer, with the support of the beggars association. They catch Hans and briefly judge him. Written by Claudio Carvalho, Rio de Janeiro, Brazil

Plot Summary | Plot Synopsis

Taglines:

IT STAGGERS THE SENSES!...SHOCKS the Imagination - It will leave you Gasping - It is the Sensation of 3 Continents!


Certificate:

Passed | See all certifications »

Parents Guide:

View content advisory »
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Did You Know?

Trivia

The use of voiceover narration was a groundbreaking new technique at the time. See more »

Goofs

[All goofs for this title are spoilers.] See more »

Quotes

Hans Beckert: I can't help what I do! I can't help it, I can't...
Criminal: The old story! We never can help it in court!
Hans Beckert: What do you know about it? Who are you anyway? Who are you? Criminals? Are you proud of yourselves? Proud of breaking safes or cheating at cards? Things you could just as well keep your fingers off. You wouldn't need to do all that if you'd learn a proper trade or if you'd work. If you weren't a bunch of lazy bastards. But I... I can't help myself! I have no control over this, this evil thing inside ...
[...]
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Crazy Credits

All of the original credits appear only in the beginning with no music. See more »

Alternate Versions

A new, fully restored version was premiered at the Cambridge Film Festival in July 2003. This version features a restored soundtracks, with Lang's originally intended long periods of silence, and the properly restored frame size. The film was previously altered with ambient noise on the soundtrack, and the frame drastically cropped around all four edges. See more »

Connections

Featured in Trailer: Episode dated 20 September 1986 (1986) See more »

Soundtracks

La Marseillaise
(uncredited)
Written by Claude Joseph Rouget de Lisle
Performed by Peter Lorre
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User Reviews

 
A masterpiece of visual drama; brilliantly acted by Peter Lorre. **** out of ****.
1 June 2000 | by Movie-12See all my reviews

M / (1931) ****

"M" is a cinematic masterpiece of visual drama. The stunning performances define the careers of exceptional actors such as Peter Lorre and Gustaf Grundgens. Director Fritz Lang gives depth and dimension to his production by distinctly capturing the ecstasy of the film's many characters and focusing accurately on individual situations. This is an intriguing journey into the mind of a psychotic child murderer, blending terror, complexity, and malignity in one amazing motion picture.

Screenwriters Paul Falkenburg and Adlof Jansen construct the characters of "M" with distinctive personalities and three dimensional emotions. Many lesser filmmakers give their characters no creativity outside the confines of the script. In this movie each individual character has a mind of their own; they are free to roam the landscape of a inviting atmosphere.

Fabricating such an impressive atmosphere is some of the best cinematography and lighting effects that I can remember watching. This resplendent component creates the film's terrific moody ambiance. Suspense is one thing "M" contains in full context. The movie's third act is sheer peak-high tension.

Shot in black and white, "M" stars Peter Lorre as Peter-Hans Beckert, an extremely disturbed child murderer in the process of wreaking havoc on a neighborhood. Parents everywhere are living in fear of their children being kidnapped and abruptly annihilated.

This picture contains a brilliantly crafted setup. The visual setting creates a strongly developed opening. Every scene works to either complicate the initial problem or propels the story through a firm narrative through line.

The film captures the chaos of the town in terror perfectly. "M" is more about the results of a serial killer than an actual serial killer. Never do we directly witness a murder; the violent encounters are implied. This method of film making perhaps makes the movie's impact even greater. With an creative perspective through a third person point of view, the filmmakers repeatedly give us examples of a solid structure through characters and occurrences.

"M" offers a unforgettable, challenging performance by Peter Lorre. This extraordinary actor is tormenting and disturbing without embracing in extreme violent conduct. He perspires with momentum and rapture. This productions closing scenes are so deeply penetrating they entirely captivate the viewer. Isn't this what movies are supposed to do?


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Frequently Asked Questions

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Details

Country:

Germany

Language:

German

Release Date:

31 August 1931 (Sweden) See more »

Also Known As:

M See more »

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Box Office

Opening Weekend USA:

$6,123, 17 March 2013

Gross USA:

$35,566

Cumulative Worldwide Gross:

$35,566
See more on IMDbPro »

Company Credits

Production Co:

Nero-Film AG See more »
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Technical Specs

Runtime:

| (2004 Criterion DVD edition) | (2000 restored) | (re-release)

Sound Mix:

Mono

Aspect Ratio:

1.20 : 1
See full technical specs »

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