6.8/10
1,493
37 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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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:

DARING! For the first time, the screen speaks of... 'M' ...the worst crime of all! 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 the killer and the little girl are locked in the room, the large shadow of the microphone boom is clearly visible on the wall on the left side of the screen after she sits down on the floor. 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 ...
See more »

Connections

Referenced in Henri Langlois: The Phantom of the Cinémathèque (2004) See more »

Frequently Asked Questions

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User Reviews

Joseph, you're good but you're no Fritz Lang.
17 June 2001 | by reptilicusSee all my reviews

***SPOILERS*** ***SPOILERS*** This is a very hard film to see, and after screening it I know why. Virtually a scene for scene remake of Fritz Lang's 1931 classic (his first talkie by the way) but director Joseph Losey (best remembered for THE SERVANT, 1961) has added some touches which make the film even more disturbing. The killer (David Wayne in the role that made Peter Lorre a European star) takes the shoes from the children he kills thus adding fetishism and paedophilia to his homicidal urges. Berlin's organised underworld is replaced by a Mafia-style boss who recruits teenage thugs, replacing the Beggars Union from the original film, to track down the killer who blends in so well with the regular populace. Meanwhile the public are whipped into lynch mob frenzy by newspaper headlines and many innocent people nearly become victims of mob mentality. Even camera angles from the original are copied in these quick vignettes. Once again the killer's undoing is the blind beggar who recognises his whistling. (For you trivia buffs, the blind beggar this time is played by John Miljan who in 1930 was the DA who yanked of Mrs. O'Grady's wig and exposed Lon Chaney Sr in the courtroom scene of THE UNHOLY THREE.) San Francisco's famous Bradbury Building, also the site of the "Outer Limits" episode "Demon With A Glass Hand", is where the killer takes refuge before being captured by the criminals of the city. Once again we explore the social and ethical implications of their actions. Many of the crooks, prostitutes and lowlifes are genuinely appalled by the actions of the child murderer but many others are just miffed because of the increased police activity that keeps them from "working". In that respect we can agree with the killer's cry (from Lang's version) "You wouldn't have to do this if you could keep your hands off things, if you worked! But I! I cannot help myself! The fire, the voices, the torment!" Losey almost makes a critical error by introducing the character of the drunken, has-been lawyer so early in the film and allowing him to pop up throughout the story until he becomes the reluctant defence counsel for the killer at the end. The killer and the hunt for him should be the main focus of the picture and by putting such emphasis on the lawyer character the powerful ending of the film is blunted. David Wayne's own speech to the kangaroo court, what should have been a highly dramatic moment, is reduced to a few lines and overshadowed by the lawyer (Luther Adler, admittedly giving a good performance) delineating his own life and how he came to be such a loser that we almost forget about the man whose actions we have been following since the film began! Nice try Joseph but you should have left a classic alone.


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