6.8/10
1,684
40 user 20 critic

(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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Ex-GI Nick Blake gets involved in a scheme to fleece a rich, young widow, but finds himself falling for her, much to the displeasure of his racketeer cohorts.

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Storyline

A killer is preying on small children in Los Angeles. The police, under pressure from civic authorities, are conducting daily raids on the criminal world. This causes all illegal business to come to a standstill. In order to bring things back to normal, the top crime bosses hold a meeting and decide that as the unknown killer is the reason for the increased police vigilance, they will catch the killer themselves using their city-wide network of informants. If they succeed, not only will it bring them relief from the police raids but public, too, will hail them as good Samaritans. The plan is put into motion. Meanwhile, the police are combing the case files of people with a history of mental illness and commitment to psychiatric institutions in the past. And all this time, the killer is getting restless, getting the urge to kill again. Written by Soumitra

Plot Summary | Add Synopsis

Taglines:

DARING! For the first time, the screen speaks of... 'M' ...the worst crime of all! See more »


Certificate:

Not Rated | See all certifications »

Parents Guide:

View content advisory »
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Did You Know?

Trivia

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 »

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

Charlie Marshall, crime boss: I'm glad you're here to defend me, Dan, Riggert just said that I'm the baby killer.
Riggert: Oh I didn't mean you personally, boss.
Charlie Marshall, crime boss: Make me a case, counselor, I'll need that glass. Make me a case.
Dan Langley: Gentlemen of the jury, I'll be brief. I know we're all anxious to get away, I myself have a very important case waiting, a case of scotch. But believe me, gentlemen, this is the most important case since I went to the bar. Mr. Marshall here is not only my client, he's my friend, I've known him for years since he ...
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Connections

Referenced in The Player (1992) See more »

User Reviews

Impressive Remake of the Lang Classic
5 May 2016 | by Michael_ElliottSee all my reviews

M (1951)

*** (out of 4)

A child killer is stalking the streets and soon the police are everywhere trying to catch him. This means that the police are stalking the low-life criminals and the crime bosses grow tired of it because it's costing them business. In order to get their business back, the crime bosses set out to catch the killer.

Fritz Lang's 1931 film M is without question one of the greatest and most disturbing movies ever made. This 1951 remake from Joseph Losey went decades without being seen but a recent restoration has it available for fans to finally catch. Is it a worthy remake? It absolutely is a winning gem. Some people have called it a film noir but I really don't agree with that. The film is very much like the original in that it has you who the real monsters are out in the world.

This film really shocked me on a couple levels. For starters, this was made in 1951 and I was shocked at how suggestive the material was. The early scenes show the killer stalking various little girls of all ages and race. The film certainly puts it in your face that this is a pervert and it doesn't shy away from this guy being attracted to them. Unlike the first film this one tries to explain why the killer is this way and of course it's the hatred of his mother.

The cinematography is a major plus and there's no question that Losey has great control of everything going on. There's a very long sequence inside a shopping center where the criminals are searching for the killer and the way this sequence is edited was just flawlessly done. Another major plus were the performances with everyone from a large role to a small one doing a great job. David Wayne plays the killer and brings a certain coldness to the role as well as a creepy undertone.

M has been forgotten over the years due to it being unavailable but now that it's making the rounds I can't help but think that it's reputation is going to improve. It's certainly not on the same level as the Lang film but it's still quite impressive.


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Details

Country:

USA

Language:

English

Release Date:

March 1951 (USA) See more »

Also Known As:

M See more »

Company Credits

Production Co:

Superior Pictures See more »
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Technical Specs

Runtime:

Sound Mix:

Mono (RCA Sound System)

Aspect Ratio:

1.37 : 1
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