29 user 19 critic


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.


Joseph Losey


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


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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


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


...the worst crime of all! See more »


Not Rated | See all certifications »






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


Sound Mix:

Mono (RCA Sound System)

Aspect Ratio:

1.37 : 1
See full technical specs »

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 »


Charlie Marshall, crime boss: You see, Riggert? The thought of these murders turns even Pottsy's stomach, imagine the feelings of the general public. Your average citizen isn't too concerned whether the police catch us or not, less the press stirs them up for political reasons, because in one way or another we service almost the entire community. But when it comes to catching a baby killer, they want action from their police department.
Riggert: That's what I said, they're on the spot.
Charlie Marshall, crime boss: So what do they do? The counselor here's told ...
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Referenced in Le fantôme d'Henri Langlois (2004) See more »

Frequently Asked Questions

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User Reviews

M (Joseph Losey, 1951) ***
5 July 2009 | by Bunuel1976See all my reviews

I commemorated the 25th anniversary from the death of director Joseph Losey (which occurred on 22nd June 1984) by watching his two best (and, ironically, rarest) Hollywood movies, both noirs made in 1951 – THE PROWLER and M. Fritz Lang's original 1931 version of the latter is not only generally considered to be its director's masterpiece but, on a personal note, is also included in my all-time Top 20 movies. Therefore, I had always been particularly interested in seeing how Losey (another director I admire a great deal) had tackled the daunting task of remaking – and relocating to L.A. – such an iconic German movie. Boasting the original's own producer, Seymour Nebenzal, the 1951 remake has been almost impossible to see and, actually, I only managed to track down a mediocre-looking print a few months ago; even so, I am certainly grateful to have been given the opportunity to catch up with it…especially in view of the fact that Sony's long-rumored Joseph Losey box set on R1 did not materialize after all! Perhaps inevitably, the film's initial stages (the murder of little Elsie) closely resemble those of Lang's film – even down to the choice of camera set-ups: the high angle shot down an eerily desolate flight of stairs, the close-up of the vacant breakfast table, the tell-tale shots of a solitary flying balloon and a rolling ball – but Losey nevertheless manages to gradually make the film his own, culminating in a trademark hysterical finale that highlights a new character not featured in the original: Luther Adler's alcoholic attorney who is, ill-advisedly, moved to turn against his boss Martin Gabel after the baby-killer's confession. David Wayne – best-known until then for playing lightly comic roles – is quite good in his own right (especially during the aforementioned trial sequence) if, understandably, falling short of Peter Lorre's unforgettable original characterization; similarly (and effectively) cast against type, Howard Da Silva makes for a fine Chief of Police, while the sterling supporting cast includes Raymond Burr (also atypically amusing as a raspy-voiced, leading underworld thug), Steve Brodie (as a sadistic cop), Glenn Anders and Jim Backus (as the mayor)! Interestingly enough, two directors-to-be were employed in minor capacities on this film: assistant director Robert Aldrich and script supervisor Don Weis. Allegedly, Fritz Lang balked at Nebenzal's offer to direct the remake himself and never forgave Losey for daring to touch his magnum opus…he must have conveniently forgotten the fact that he had himself remade in Hollywood two Jean Renoir classics – LA CHIENNE (1931) and LA BETE HUMAINE (1938) – as SCARLET STREET (1945) and HUMAN DESIRE (1954) respectively!

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