6.9/10
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(1951)

Not Rated | | Drama, Film-Noir, Thriller | March 1951 (USA)
In this Americanization of the 1931 German thriller, both the police and the criminal underworld stalk a mysterious killer who preys on small children.

Director:

Joseph Losey

Writers:

Norman Reilly Raine (screen play by), Leo Katcher (screen play by) | 1 more credit »
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Cast

Cast overview, first billed only:
David Wayne ... Martin W. Harrow
Howard Da Silva ... Inspector Carney
Martin Gabel ... Charlie Marshall
Luther Adler ... Dan Langley
Steve Brodie ... Police Lt. Becker
Raymond Burr ... Pottsy
Glenn Anders ... Riggert
Norman Lloyd ... Sutro
Walter Burke ... MacMahan
John Miljan ... Blind Baloon Vendor
Roy Engel ... Police Chief Regan
Janine Perreau ... The Last Little Girl
Leonard Bremen ... Lemke (as Lennie Bremen)
Benny Burt Benny Burt ... Jansen
Bernard Szold Bernard Szold ... Bradbury Bldg. Watchman
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Storyline

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

Taglines:

The Most Gripping Motion Picture You've Ever Seen! See more »


Certificate:

Not Rated | See all certifications »
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Details

Country:

USA

Language:

English

Release Date:

March 1951 (USA) See more »

Also Known As:

M le maudit See more »

Company Credits

Production Co:

Superior Pictures See more »
Show more on IMDbPro »

Technical Specs

Runtime:

Sound Mix:

Mono (RCA Sound System)

Aspect Ratio:

1.37 : 1
See full technical specs »
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Did You Know?

Trivia

Before signing Joseph Losey as director, producer Seymour Nebenzal approached fellow German expatriate Douglas Sirk and offered him the job. Sirk said he would do the film only if he could scrap the original story and write a new one about a psychopathic murderer of children. When Nebenzal approached Losey, he too wanted to scrap the original story and do a new one about a child-murderer, and Nebenzal told him that the Production Code Administration (PCA) had agreed to allow him to make the film only if the original story and script were kept. The PCA had approved "M" as a remake of an acknowledged classic, but if the story were changed, their approval would be withdrawn. See more »

Goofs

When Harrow picks up the bird at the outdoor café, the position of the sugar dispenser on the table changes between when he gets up and then sits down on the opposite side of the table. See more »

Quotes

Riggert: Who do we frame?
Charlie Marshall, crime boss: No frame, Riggert. This killer isn't going to stop just because they make an arrest. We've got to find him and stop him ourselves.
Sutro: Oh, we ain't gonna help the cops, we're gonna BE the cops.
Charlie Marshall, crime boss: We've got the organization to keep an eye on every child in this city. Our runners and pickup men are in the city all the time. We've got drops in candy stores, barber shops, newsstands, shoe shine parlors, even got our own radio system, our cabs the Ajax outfit. With their two-way system ...
[...]
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Connections

Referenced in Lola & Her Brothers (2018) See more »

Frequently Asked Questions

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User Reviews

 
One of the most gripping noirs of its era
29 March 2017 | by tomgillespie2002See all my reviews

The poster for director Joseph Losey's M promises to deliver "the greatest motion picture you've ever seen!". This, of course, isn't true; in fact, it isn't even the great motion picture entitled M you'll ever see. The original movie of the same title, directed by Fritz Lang, is possibly one of the finest pieces of cinema ever made, and one that reflected the political turmoil of Germany at the time as the Weimar Republic start to collapse under the increasing power of the Nazis. Douglas Sirk, a German working in Hollywood, was first approached to helm the remake, but wanted to scrap the original premise but keep the focus on a notorious child-killer. This could not happen, as such a grisly topic was banned in Hollywood, but would be allowed if it was a remake of a classic. Sirk held his ground, and so M was handed to Losey instead.

Martin W. Harrow (David Wayne) is a reclusive serial killer who has already gained notoriety throughout the city after a few dead bodies were found, minus their shoes. Inspector Carney (Howard Da Silva) feels the pressure of expectation, resorting to desperate measures by fleecing the regulars at a known criminal hangout in the hope of stumbling upon a clue or lead, as the city's residents are in high- paranoia mode, reporting anyone acting remotely suspicious or seen walking with a child. One old man is hauled in after helping a young girl take her skates off after a fall. Syndicate boss Charlie Marshall (Martin Gabel), seeking an opportunity to divert the attention away from his own criminal activities, rounds up his gang of crooks and brings in drunken lawyer Dan Langley (Luther Adler) in the hope of tracking down the murderer himself.

Any American remakes of foreign masterpieces will always be looked upon with some degree of disdain, and I must admit that I went into M expecting a pointless re-hash of what came before. However, under the disguise of a film noir, Losey's M is a damn good movie, with the panic-stricken city eager to turn over their neighbour in the hope of sleeping easy at night easily comparable with Joseph McCarthy's Communist witch-hunts terrorising Hollywood at the time, which saw industry giants pressured into naming names and exiling their co-workers onto the Blacklist. As Harrow, Wayne is subtly effective, sweet-talking his victims and luring them with his whistle. More focus is given to his character than in Lang's film, and Wayne manages to invite more sympathy than Peter Lorre's incarnation as he is eventually hauled in front of a public jury. It certainly doesn't have the dramatic weight or technical wizardry of the 1931 version, but Losey's effort stands out as one of the most gripping noirs of its era.


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