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M - Eine Stadt sucht einen Mörder (1931)

When the police in a German city are unable to catch a child-murderer, other criminals join in the manhunt.

Director:

Fritz Lang

Writers:

Thea von Harbou (script), Fritz Lang (script)
Reviews
Popularity
2,863 ( 466)
Top Rated Movies #80 | 2 wins. See more awards »

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Cast

Cast overview, first billed only:
Peter Lorre ... Hans Beckert
Ellen Widmann Ellen Widmann ... Frau Beckmann
Inge Landgut ... Elsie Beckmann
Otto Wernicke ... Inspector Karl Lohmann
Theodor Loos ... Inspector Groeber
Gustaf Gründgens ... Schränker
Friedrich Gnaß Friedrich Gnaß ... Franz
Fritz Odemar ... The Cheater
Paul Kemp ... Pickpocket with Six Watches
Theo Lingen ... Bauernfänger
Rudolf Blümner Rudolf Blümner ... Beckert's Defender
Georg John ... Blind Panhandler
Franz Stein Franz Stein ... Minister
Ernst Stahl-Nachbaur Ernst Stahl-Nachbaur ... Police Chief
Gerhard Bienert Gerhard Bienert ... Criminal Secretary
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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. Written by Claudio Carvalho, Rio de Janeiro, Brazil

Plot Summary | Plot Synopsis

Taglines:

IT STAGGERS THE SENSES!...SHOCKS the Imagination - It will leave you Gasping - It is the Sensation of 3 Continents!


Certificate:

18 | See all certifications »

Parents Guide:

View content advisory »
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Details

Country:

Germany

Language:

German

Release Date:

16 October 1931 (Netherlands) See more »

Also Known As:

M See more »

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Box Office

Opening Weekend USA:

$6,123, 14 March 1931, Limited Release

Gross USA:

$35,566, 31 December 2013
See more on IMDbPro »

Company Credits

Production Co:

Nero-Film AG See more »
Show more on IMDbPro »

Technical Specs

Runtime:

| (2004 Criterion DVD edition) | (2000 restored) | (re-release)

Sound Mix:

Mono

Aspect Ratio:

1.20 : 1
See full technical specs »
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Did You Know?

Trivia

This was shot in the early days of optical soundtracks (sound-on-film). The optical track was placed on one side of the film that had originally contained part of the image area. This reduced the aspect ratio to only 1.19:1. This specification was used for only a few years until the academy specification restored the image ratio to 1.33:1. Later prints had the image area enlarged and the top and bottom of the image cut off to achieve the 1.33:1 aspect ratio. This has created headaches for efforts to restore this film to way Fritz Lang had originally created it. See more »

Goofs

[All goofs for this title are spoilers.] See more »

Quotes

Pickpocket with 6 Watches: There are more police on the street tonight than whores
See more »

Crazy Credits

All of the original credits appear only in the beginning with no music. See more »

Alternate Versions

A new, fully restored version was premiered at the Cambridge Film Festival in July 2003. This version features a restored soundtracks, with Lang's originally intended long periods of silence, and the properly restored frame size. The film was previously altered with ambient noise on the soundtrack, and the frame drastically cropped around all four edges. See more »

Connections

Referenced in Dark City: Memories of Shell Beach (2008) See more »

Soundtracks

Le Halle du Roi de la Montagne
in "Peer Gynt Suite No.1, Op.46" (1876)
Written by Edvard Grieg
See more »

Frequently Asked Questions

See more »

User Reviews

 
Far Ahead Of Its Time And May Always Will Be
30 June 2009 | by alexkolokotronisSee all my reviews

M is a monumental film and seriously should be watched by all. For a film like this to be made in 1931 is just shocking. Even if the film was released today it would still be nothing like we have seen before. In our modern age of film making there has been a considerable rise in the production of films about serial killers, their complexities and particularly about pathological ones. Yet, M is the first movie that comes to my mind when I think of the themes that have been in Psycho, Silence of the Lambs, Seven and not to mention countless more.

The film is lead by Peter Lorre in a transcending performance who plays the serial killer and rapist in which the film is centered around. In this performance Lorre is successful in something that at the very least is rare to see in any kind of film, compassion for a child killer and rapist. Lorre makes the viewer see, that he is not a criminal by choice but by a sickness of compulsion. Too often then not is our perception of a psychotic killer having that look that puts fear into his or hers victims' eyes. Lorre doesn't do that but rather displays a frightened man, a scared man. One in which his desperation leads to his hazardous behavior. His portrayal of a killer is not of a fearless one but of one consumed by fear. Something that even today we as a people cannot understand, let alone in 1931.

The direction and writing of Fritz Lang is beyond comprehensible as he taps into the mind of a serial killer and his complexities. He does so in such that we get an empathetic and compassionate illustration of all sides of the story. This in which by then end of the film all points of view are more then well delivered to the audience. Fritz Lang here, has simply created here a timeless masterpiece. One that excels in its technical aspects and enlightens the audience on a topic that other films still have not yet to match M in.

I highly recommend this film for many obvious reasons and conclusions. This film was created by one of the all time great directors in Fritz Lang, Lang's command for the screen is mesmerizing and a joy to witness and so on and so forth. Yet much of this is mostly superficial and a waste of time to continuously state. M, as I mentioned before takes a strong and original stance on an issue that we as a society yet have not fully resolved. This film may not give you THE answer on this issue but it may sway that moral compass of yours that lies inside of all of us.


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