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M
Year:
1931
Country:
Germany
Genre:
Crime, Drama, Thriller, Film-Noir
IMDB rating:
8.4
Director:
Fritz Lang
Peter Lorre as Hans Beckert
Ellen Widmann as Frau Beckmann
Inge Landgut as Elsie Beckmann
Otto Wernicke as Inspector Karl Lohmann
Theodor Loos as Inspector Groeber
Gustaf Gründgens as Schränker
Friedrich Gnaß as Franz, the burglar
Fritz Odemar as The cheater
Paul Kemp as Pickpocket with six watches
Theo Lingen as Bauernfänger
Rudolf Blümner as Beckert's defender
Georg John as Blind panhandler
Franz Stein as Minister
Ernst Stahl-Nachbaur as Police chief
Storyline: In Germany, Hans Beckert is an unknown killer of girls. He whistles Edvard Grieg's 'In The Hall of the Mountain King', from the 'Peer Gynt' Suite I Op. 46 while attracting the little girls for death. The police force pressed by the Minister give its best effort trying unsuccessfully to arrest the serial killer. The organized crime has great losses due to the intense search and siege of the police and decides to chase the murderer, with the support of the beggars association. They catch Hans and briefly judge him.
Type Resolution File Size Codec Bitrate Format
720p 864x720 px 4479 Mb h264 1536 Kbps mkv Download
HQ DVD-rip 720x576 px 2897 Mb mpeg4 3647 Kbps mp4 Download
DVD-rip 528x432 px 1551 Mb mpeg4 1952 Kbps avi Download
Reviews
Moments of menace..
The economy, austerity and directness of the films of Fritz Lang made him one of the most profound, and precise filmmakers...

Lang, a master of the German expressionist film, shot his first talkie, a crime drama considered a landmark in the story of suspense movies... It was a shocking idea for its time, based on the real-life killer Peter Kurten, headlined as the Vampire of Düsseldorf...

'M' is about a terrorized city, and a plump little man with wide eyes (often chewing candy) who is a pathological child-killer, unable to control his urge for killing...

The film embodies several Lang themes: the duality between justice and revenge, mob hysteria, the menacing anticipation of watching a helplessly trapped individual trying fruitlessly to escape as greater forces move inexorably in, and, for probably the first time in the cinema, it adds a new dimension to suspense: pity... For the killer is clearly mentally sick... He cannot overcome the overwhelming compulsion of his murderous disease, and yet, we see him hunted down and almost lynched as a criminal, rather than treated as a sick man...

Early in the film, the killer is heard whistling the Grieg theme from 'In the Hall of the Mountain King'. This theme inexorably becomes imbued with menace... And when we see no more than a girl looking in a shop window, the melody on the sound-track told us chillingly that the murderer is there, just out of sight...

The Murderer is played by Peter Lorre in a virtuoso performance that has barely been matched in all the thrillers he has made since 'Casablanca,' 'The Maltese Falcon,' and 'The Mask of Dimitrios.' When the photographs of his victims, all little girls, are shown to him, he jumps back and twitches with horror...

With powerful visuals, Lang's motion picture is Lorre's first film... His performance as the corpulent, hunted psychopath is a masterpiece of mime and suggestion... Lorre is the archetypal outsider-outside the law and society because of his compulsive crimes, outside the balancing society of the underworld because he is not a professional criminal... He had only twelve lines of dialog...

In the most famous of all about a pathological killer - Alfred Hitchcock's 'Psycho' - Anthony Perkins lacked not only the threat of the tortured Peter Lorre, but also the dimension of invoking our incredulous sympathy...

'Psycho' reeked with blood and horror, whereas the suspense of 'M' is subtle... A child's balloon without an owner, a rolling ball, are enough to tell us that another murder had been committed... The audience, trapped in its seats, torn by ambivalent feelings towards the killer, watched him trapped as the net is pulled tight...
2002-01-31
Germany's Best film? I think not, but then again this is my opinion
I went to look for this because I heard that it was Germany's best film. To be truly honest I prefer the German War films I have seen (with the exception of Downfall, I'm sorry but I hated the effect that movie had on me), so I then bought it because I thought it would be worth buying... It is worth it but not as much as others like Das Boot or Stalingrad (Stalingrad IS my favourite German film).

The plot is that a child murderer, when killing his 8th victim causes more tension in the town than the viewer would have watching The Thing. He writes a letter to the newspaper saying he is not going to stop (which to me is kind of a dumb move if your causing that much tension in the town). Cops then decide to raid every house and every business within the town. A group decide to get together and find this murderer themselves because it would ruin business.

As far as films go this one does have reason to be a classic, I did expect more than what I got (No offense to readers but with older films I get that very often, but not that often in foreign classics) the actor playing the child murderer is the best performance out of the whole thing.

So all in all this is worth a shot but it is not what everybody says.
2012-09-01
Incredible movie
I have heard about M for a long time, but had never gotten around to viewing it. I am glad I finally did. Although the cinematography is very unlike modern cinema it is quite gripping. The sense of paranoia that Lang was able to create was incredible. People turning on strangers in the street, the police performing constant raids to try to find the murderer. This movie will leave its mark on your memory.
1999-08-07
Remarkable suspense and story-telling
Overlong for sure and with a rather abrupt ending, this remarkably suspense filled film, is quite spellbinding at points, able to view several facets of society and interweave a number of stories with great clarity.

Peter Lorre gives an impassioned performance, playing a servile and repugnant child murderer, before finally giving a powerful speech rebuking his captors and supplying an emotional and sympathetic statement on his plight. His performance is so good, we understand his problems, and any murderous intent we once had is quickly drained.

As an essay on justice, and its motivations, the film weaves in its themes with great skill, the director able to juggle, drama, suspense, and a very real message with remarkable impact.

The cinematography is amazing, able to tell a story with its powerful image easily: a strong visual drama. And the directors ability to illuminate the room and create emotion with his images is also very good, creating a paranoid or claustrophobic atmosphere with ease. Music is used sparingly, and the taut silence of chases, is particularly good. The editing is amazing for a film of this age, and create good tense storytelling with both complexity and clarity.

The film lags a little in places, and could be tightened up all round, to create a taut, powerful thriller. But otherwise it is strong all round, with great images, performances, and production.
2013-01-16
I can't help what I do! I can't help it, I can't...
We see the beginnings of film noir in Germany's first talking picture. It also has some remnants of German Expressionism. But what is most impressive is the story itself.

Anyone that has followed cases of missing children know what the police go through, and watching this crime/psychological thriller and the search for a child serial killer is just like watching the 6 o'clock news today.

The acting is superb, and the story is compelling. It is not so much about the killer, but about the people's reactions to the fear he has filled them with. Of course, the thieves and prostitutes are too happy either with cops everywhere. It was absolutely hilarious to watch the cops planning how to step up raids while, at the same time across town, the underworld was trying to figure out how to catch the murderer and get back to business.

Both the police and the underworld get a break at the same time. But the underworld has him cornered and things are getting really tense. You cannot image what they do to try and find him. This was the most innovative story I have seen.

The "trial" was magnificent! The print was absolutely perfect and the lighting was superb. The sound was even OK for the first use.

Gustaf Gründgens was superb as the leader of the underworld, Theodor Loos equally so as the head of the police, and Peter Lorre was great as usual.
2009-04-09
German Expressionism at its cinematic best
Being a huge fan of German Expressionist art, I'm naturally drawn to the films of Fritz Lang. I recently was able to see the restored version of "Metropolis" on the big screen, and was delighted to see "M" on the Sundance channel - especially since it was the uncut version. M follows the trail of a child killer (Peter Lorre), sought both by the police and the members of the underworld whose businesses are being effected by the investigation.

This film is ground-breaking for many reasons: It is Fritz Lang's first talking picture, it is one of the first in the serial killer genre and it was overtly anti-Nazi. This film was banned in Germany shortly after it premiered, and Fritz Lang and Peter Lorre, both Jews, soon fled the country. It has superb acting (most notably, Peter Lorre's trial scene in the catacombs) and very stark yet at times gritty cinematography. The story is indeed suspenseful and at times, very creepy (what whistling child killer isn't?). The entire movie, however is extremely thought-provoking and challenging, much like the German Expressionist movement itself.

This is not a movie for everyone; some may find it boring, some may find it too abstract. It also has one of the most bizarre shots I've ever seen in film - essentially it's a 30 second shot of the police inspector talking on the phone, but you're under his desk and looking up his pants leg. It actually kind of baffled me and made me chuckle for a second, but it was avant garde if anything.

To those who appreciate early cinema that truly makes you think, both about the film and the subtext with which it was written and filmed, it is a must-see.

--Shelly
2003-05-02
Mediocre movie
"M"... what an unusual title (a single one letter). Apparently insignificant, it means something though: "Mörder" ("Murderer" in German).

For a 1931 film, this is far from looking so old. Looks more like a movie of the late 40's than from the early 30's. Most movies from the 30's are hopelessly dated. Also, for a 1931 film, some of the language used is a surprise.

This movie tells the story of a mysterious child murderer and the challenge of catching him, as nobody knows who he is and he leaves no clues whatsoever. He is slowly introduced in a clever way as the movie runs. The weird thing is that this criminal only kills girls (only one boy is killed).

My big complaint about this movie is that it wastes too much time in the police investigation scenes and the society's general concern about these hideous crimes. Also, I must confess, the policemen and the gangsters smoke so much that seeing all that smoke becomes nauseating.

The film becomes more interesting and intense in the 2nd half, as the real hunt against the killer takes place. The "kangaroo court" scene is psychologically strong and the killer, at the same time he begs to spare his life, explains everything about his criminal nature.

The criminal's sentence is unknown. It is almost revealed but just as that is about to happen, the shot cuts to some women saying that «No sentence will bring the children back. One has to keep closer watch over the children....... All of you».

Peter Lorre's acting as the child murderer has a lot of dignity and his eyes are incredibly expressive. This superb performance is worthy of an Oscar for Best Actor.
2011-11-30
Awesome. Way ahead of its time.
A group of children are playing an elimination game in the courtyard of an apartment building in Berlin[5] using a chant about a murderer of children. A woman sets the table for dinner, waiting for her daughter to come home from school. A wanted poster warns of a serial killer preying on children, as anxious parents wait outside a school.

Little Elsie Beckmann leaves school, bouncing a ball on her way home. She is approached by Hans Beckert, who is whistling "In the Hall of the Mountain King" by Edvard Grieg. He offers to buy her a balloon from a blind street-vendor. He walks and talks with her. Elsie's place at the dinner table remains empty, her ball is shown rolling away across a patch of grass, and her balloon is lost in the telephone lines overhead.

In the wake of Elsie's death, Beckert sends an angry letter about his crimes to the newspapers, from which the police extract clues using the new techniques of fingerprinting and handwriting analysis. Under mounting pressure from city leaders, the police work around the clock. Inspector Karl Lohmann instructs his men to intensify their search and to check the records of recently released psychiatric patients to look for those with a history of violence against children. They stage frequent raids to question known criminals, disrupting underworld business so badly that Der Schränker ("The Safecracker") calls a meeting of the city's criminal bosses. They decide to organize their own manhunt, using beggars to watch and guard the children.

The police discover two clues corresponding to the killer's letter in Beckert's rented rooms. They wait there to arrest him.
2016-07-10
"...they never leave me. They're always there..."
There's a serial killer in Berlin who targets children. The police have been unable to catch him but their increased presence has made life more difficult for the criminal underworld. So the criminals band together to try and find the child killer themselves and issue their own brand of justice. Exceptional German film from the great Fritz Lang. His best sound film and second best film overall, behind only the silent sci-fi masterpiece Metropolis. The cast is terrific. Peter Lorre is amazing in this, which put him on the map. The direction, the cinematography, the angles, the lighting, the dark atmosphere all help to create this visually arresting film. It's a classic in every sense. Don't let its age or the subtitles turn you off from trying it. You're missing out on a truly great film if you do.
2014-06-29
M – Masterpiece!
'M' is brilliant! This film was so way ahead of its time that it still holds up today and doesn't feel dated one bit but rather modern. The only thing that seems a bit odd by today's standards is the complete lack of incidental music and the fact that many scenes don't include sound effects and are virtually silent. You have to remember, though, that this film was made right at the transition from silent film to sound film, so the concept of sound in films was still rather new and director Fritz Lang used the technology to its full potential in 'M.'

Lang's direction is magnificent, especially if you take into consideration that this film was made in 1930. The camera angles, tracking shots and zoom shots Lang used here were groundbreaking back then and they are still marvelous today. The three main characters of the film are played by Peter Lorre, Otto Wernicke and Gustaf Gründgens and all three of them are fantastic in their respective roles. Lorre's acting is intense, especially in the finale. That performance is something else!
2016-09-19
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