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
Because he had directed several crime thrillers in the past, Fritz Lang had developed a positive rapport with the Berlin police and had made several influential contacts. He was able to exploit these connections, particularly those in the homicide bureau, in order to meet and interview several actual murderers in preparation for this film. See more »
[All goofs for this title are spoilers.]
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All of the original credits appear only in the beginning with no music. See more »
The version shown at the film's premiere (on May 11th, 1931, running time 110 minutes) had an alternate ending: it shows the full trial of the murderer. This ending was later replaced by a woman sobbing "Man muß eben noch besser auf die Kinder achtgeben. IHR..." (One must look out for the children even harder. YOU...) See more »
The opening scene of this movie is the first clue to its near perfection A mother preparing dinner for her child, waiting anxiously for her to return from school. Her hope, and then distress as she hears people pass outside her door. While down in the streets of Berlin, her daughter is receiving a balloon from a strange man in a long black coat. We know what's going to happen, but it's still horrific to watch.
Fritz Lang, you cinematic god! A simple story of the underworld, the police, and a single man holding an entire city hostage, and done with such precision and pre-noir darkness that is oozes creepy suspense from beginning to end.
But this movie is not so simple as the police inspectors trying to catch a devious murderer it's about the mob, employing its network of beggars and petty thieves also trying to bring the killer to their own brand of justice. Apparently, the police crackdown caused by the murders is bad for business so the mob begins to track him down as well.
It's not only a great crime story, and perhaps the first physiological thriller (the murderer is schizophrenic) but there's comments to be made here about the nature of justice, and who should best dispense it.
In all, not only a trail-blazing classic, but THE trail-blazing classic.
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