the fresh films reviews

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M (1931)

Directed by:
Fritz Lang
99 minutes
Produced by:
Seymour Nebensal
Written by:
Fritz Lang
Thea von Harbou
Paul Falkenberg
Adolf Jansen
Karl Vash

Cast includes:

Hans Beckert Peter Lorre
Inspector Lohmann Otto Wernicke ½
Schraenker Gustaf Gründgens
Franz Friedrich Gnaß



Few, if any films made during the first hundred years of the medium's history have been thematically more ahead of its time than Fritz Lang's mesmerizing M. Many silent classics and early talkies are hailed for their revolutionary film techniques or inventive storytelling. M, however, is different. Its style is almost invisible - showing just how versatile a director Fritz Lang was. Compare this to the visually astounding Metropolis, and you will see two of the greatest films from the early days of cinema – albeit with completely different methods.

Peter Lorre is a child murderer and sexual psychopath who is tormenting Berlin and ends up being hunted by both the police and the underworld mafia, whose business is being hampered by the attention the murderer is drawing. Sure, there are rather trivial chase sequences here, but there is nothing trivial about the payoff in which Lang finishes off with a long, gripping "court" scene. Peter Lorre's performance in that scene alone makes for one of the best performances in the history of cinema, and certainly one of the most harrowing confessions put to film. But what may be most impressive is the insight and attentiveness it all is executed with. There are timeless, powerful human emotions explored here, and the film is as relevant today as it was over seventy years ago.

Copyright © 17.12.2004 Fredrik Gunerius Fevang [HAVE YOUR SAY]