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M

An extraordinary, good, impressive and strong talker. Again fine work by Fritz Lang, and his wife and helper, Thea von Harbou. All the more astonishing as it is Lang's first talker.

Cast:
Peter Lorre Ellen Widmann Inge Landgut Gustav Gruendgens Fritz Gnass Fritz Odemar

An extraordinary, good, impressive and strong talker. Again fine work by Fritz Lang, and his wife and helper, Thea von Harbou. All the more astonishing as it is Lang’s first talker.

M is the sign of recognition of a child’s murderer who is sought by the police and an underworld organtization. It is the story of the world-known murderer, Peter Kuerten of Dusseldorf. Amazing thing about this is that von Harbou wrote this manuscript [based on a newspaper report by Egon Jacobson] before Peter Kuerten was ever arrested.

After a thrilling chase the murderer is caught by the gangster organizations. The work of the police, of the criminal department, the raids and police patrols, the spy work of the gangsters, all this is splendidly worked out and realistically. There are a few repetitions and a few draggy scenes.

Peter Lorre does unusually well as the murderer, changing from human despair to bestial lust. It is most gripping when he pleads for human treatment and understanding for his pathological tendencies.

Otto Wernicke, as the chief of the criminal department, achieves such perfect work one is reminded of Lon Chaney’s figures. Theodor Loos and Gerhard Bienert are also splendid as criminal policemen. In between are two fine actresses: Rosa Valetti and Margarete Melzer.

M

Germany

Production: Nero. Director Fritz Lang; Producer Seymour Nebenzal; Screenplay Thea von Harbou; Camera Fritz Arno Wagner, Gustav Rathje, Karl Vash; Art Director Karl Vollbrecht, Emil Hasler

Crew: (B&W) Available on VHS, DVD. Extract of a review from 1931. Running time: 114 MIN.

With: Peter Lorre Ellen Widmann Inge Landgut Gustav Gruendgens Fritz Gnass Fritz Odemar

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