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.
The Worst Crime Of All!
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Did You Know?
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The PCA had approved "M" as a remake of an acknowledged classic, but if the story were changed, their approval would be withdrawn.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
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
Police Chief Regan
I tell you, Mayor, we're doing everything possible. We may pick up that murderer in the next five minutes or we may never find him. All we can do is follow every lead.
You're not dealing with a punk or a tin horn, usual procedure won't work! Catching this man is going to take brains, imagination.
Police Chief Regan
Maybe you have some ideas we can use.
IDEAS! I've got a million of them! It's not my job to run this department, it's yours! I've got a city to run, this just one department. People in this city depend on...
Referenced in Lola & Her Brothers