8.3/10
140,646
364 user 156 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
3,207 ( 63)
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

What convinced Fritz Lang to make the film was his reading of the last scene in the script, when a mother ominously warns, "You have to watch your children". See more »

Goofs

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

Quotes

Schraenker: An outsider is ruining our business and our reputation. Measures taken by the police and the daily raids to catch this child murderer are hampering our activities to an almost unbearable degree. We can no longer tolerate the fact that we're not safe now in any hotel, bar, cafe or even private home from the clutches of the police.
Criminal Syndicate Member: Very true.
Schraenker: This state of affairs must end. Things must return to normal or we'll go under. Our coffers will soon be depleted. If we can't get funds to support the wives ...
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Crazy Credits

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

Alternate Versions

In the English and French language versions, in addition to having been dubbed, had some footage re shot. These scenes include the telephone conversation between the minister and the police commissioner, and the ending of the film. Peter Lorre's performance in the trial was re shot, however this time he spoke his lines in English or French, depending upon the version. The shots of him are lit and photographed much differently than Fritz Lang's original footage. Additionally, a shot of the police arriving was inserted, taken from an earlier part of the film (whereas in the original German version no police forces are shown at all). The court scenes have been eliminated and replaced with happy endings where young children play a game similar to the one seen in the opening (English) or a smiling couple watching their children play in the street (French). See more »

Connections

Referenced in Copacabana (1947) See more »

Soundtracks

Le Halle du Roi de la Montagne
in "Peer Gynt Suite No.1, Op.46" (1876)
Written by Edvard Grieg
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User Reviews

 
Far Ahead Of Its Time And May Always Will Be
30 June 2009 | by alexkolokotronisSee all my reviews

M is a monumental film and seriously should be watched by all. For a film like this to be made in 1931 is just shocking. Even if the film was released today it would still be nothing like we have seen before. In our modern age of film making there has been a considerable rise in the production of films about serial killers, their complexities and particularly about pathological ones. Yet, M is the first movie that comes to my mind when I think of the themes that have been in Psycho, Silence of the Lambs, Seven and not to mention countless more.

The film is lead by Peter Lorre in a transcending performance who plays the serial killer and rapist in which the film is centered around. In this performance Lorre is successful in something that at the very least is rare to see in any kind of film, compassion for a child killer and rapist. Lorre makes the viewer see, that he is not a criminal by choice but by a sickness of compulsion. Too often then not is our perception of a psychotic killer having that look that puts fear into his or hers victims' eyes. Lorre doesn't do that but rather displays a frightened man, a scared man. One in which his desperation leads to his hazardous behavior. His portrayal of a killer is not of a fearless one but of one consumed by fear. Something that even today we as a people cannot understand, let alone in 1931.

The direction and writing of Fritz Lang is beyond comprehensible as he taps into the mind of a serial killer and his complexities. He does so in such that we get an empathetic and compassionate illustration of all sides of the story. This in which by then end of the film all points of view are more then well delivered to the audience. Fritz Lang here, has simply created here a timeless masterpiece. One that excels in its technical aspects and enlightens the audience on a topic that other films still have not yet to match M in.

I highly recommend this film for many obvious reasons and conclusions. This film was created by one of the all time great directors in Fritz Lang, Lang's command for the screen is mesmerizing and a joy to witness and so on and so forth. Yet much of this is mostly superficial and a waste of time to continuously state. M, as I mentioned before takes a strong and original stance on an issue that we as a society yet have not fully resolved. This film may not give you THE answer on this issue but it may sway that moral compass of yours that lies inside of all of us.


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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
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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
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