A simple, haunting phrase whistled off-screen tells us that a young girl will be killed. “Who is the murderer?” pleads a nearby placard as serial killer Hans Beckert (Peter Lorre) closes in on little Elsie Beckmann. In his harrowing masterwork M, Fritz Lang merges trenchant social commentary with chilling suspense, creating a panorama of private madness and public hysteria that to this day remains the blueprint for the psychological thriller. —The Criterion Collection
Born in Vienna in 1890, Fritz Lang was brought up in Viennese middle-class comfort by his Roman Catholic father Anton and his Jewish mother Paula Schleisinger who both hoped that young Fritz would become an architect. But like so many middle-class children of the new century, Lang was fascinated by the pulp and fantasy literature of his day, the art world both in and outside Vienna and a potent new form of entertainment that invited artistic scrutiny and craftsmanship, the motion picture. Though the teenaged Lang attended school as his parents wished, he secretly haunted the cafe’s and cabarets of Vienna and intended to become a painter like his idols Klimt and Schile. At aged 21 Lang’s yearning took him to Paris where he lived in Bohemian splendor until the outbreak of W.W.I. Returning to Vienna, Lang enlisted in the Austrian army where he repeatedly saw combat, was wounded at least three times and decorated twice.
It was while on leave recuperating from one of these wounds… read more
Good as a good Hitchcock's, but done 20 years earlier. It did not feel to me as a film from the 30s. It was definitely a groundbreaking work at the time.
Lang rimescola le parti, in questo spietato capolavoro senza tempo. Giusto e sbagliato. Buono e cattivo. Quando le certezze si sfaldano, l'uomo aggredisce. è "l'impulso" primordiale che si fa avanti. Dal film emerge la paura, di Lang, per il crescentel potere totalitario tedesco. Senza lieto fine e con l'amaro in bocca....
Sure there are places where it drags just a bit, but Lang was helping establish the language of film here and M adds tremendously to the vocabulary. The man really knew what he was doing and the movie is still beautiful and often gripping. Add the delicious early Peter Lorre performance and you've got a real treat here.
German theatre star Kurt Gerron directs this 30s thriller featuring Peter Lorre as a hunchbacked dope pedlar.
Fritz Lang in Hollywood, running at New York's Film Forum from January 28th to February 10th, offers the chance to get re-acquainted with some
"Started in 2006, [Undercurrent], a labor of love for its founder Chris Fujiwara, remains in many ways a quintessential small magazine
This is terrible! Not having time to really write anything, but having a film that demands and deserves a full and detailed appraisal. Forgive
Director, Fritz Lang was a highly innovative genius for the early German cinema. Ranging from expressionist art films to American film-noirs, Lang has become an inspirational guide for filmmakers… read review
I may be barking up the wrong tree completely here but, having just watched M again for the first time in ages, I was struck by how the film seems to prefigure the work of Jean-Pierre… read review
I first saw Fritz Lang’s masterpiece M in a college class on mass culture, and it made for the ideal context to see this powerful film. The basic idea behind “mass culture”—at least, what… read review