M

Synopsis: 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 this 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.
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M 8.0

I love this film. Aside form the let-down, abrupt ending, I mean. There are four parts to it that could all easily be developed into their own feature film. There are layers of moral complexity here that you don’t find every day.

And I love the look of it; it’s subtle, but each frame was obviously planned out for maximum impact. And I thnk it’s the only time I’ve seen Peter Lorre not play a caricature – that was a welcome sight, ’cause he’s rather good here.

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