2018 Blind Spot Series: M


What I knew going in: Apparently nothing 

In Germany, a man named Hans Beckert (Peter Lorre) kidnaps children. The town is in terror, the police are on high alert, this doesn't sit well with the other non child-murderer criminals. They decide to try to catch the killer themselves so everything goes back to normal.

This is director Fritz Lang's first "talkie" (Though he can't resist leaving a few parts of the film silent) After being unimpressed with Metropolis, this one fared better with me personally. I thought I had a good idea of what this was going to be like. But it ended up being kind of goofy. It's certainly no comedy but for something marketed as a murder mystery it was kind of light, almost upbeat during certain scenes. It's not the tone I was expecting.

Lorre is perfectly creepy in this and he stands out easily while the rest of the cast sort of blends together. I'll never hear "In The Hall of the Mountain King" the same way again.


If I have one major complaint about the film, it's that it dragged in the middle, yet rushed the ending. I would've preferred to have those extra 10-15 minutes where it counted.

Recommended: Yes

Grade: B-

Memorable Quote: "I can't help what I do!" Hans Beckert (Peter Lorre)

10 comments:

  1. This is a blind spot for me too this year! I'm not super hyped for it, so your rating doesn't scare me, but I did really love Metropolis so maybe I'll enjoy this one a bit more than you did. I did think it would be really creepy and dark, so the light tone IS surprising.

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  2. I love this film and the cinematography plus the style. Peter Lorre is brilliant as the serial killer and is quite chilling. The people become a mob and one wonders if the average person is just as bad. I consider this film a solid A:)

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    1. That part amused me. Like, all the criminals deciding that this one person is worse than they are and need to take justice. I wanted more of that.

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  3. It's been years since I saw it as I loved the visuals yet it was the ending that was shocking including Peter Lorre's performance in that film which stuck with me for a long time.

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    1. I'm fairly sure I'll be thinking of him in this film for a long time as well.

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  4. The subject matter makes it hard for me to say I "loved" it but the movie is a masterful piece of filmmaking. Lang's command of the medium adds much to the film but it wouldn't have the same impact without Peter Lorre. His performance is so layered which makes it even more deeply disturbing. You never like him but Lorre makes you see that this is something Hans can't control.

    The first time I watched this and the other criminals set off for him I was surprised but through different books throughout the years that I've read there is a hierarchy within the criminal's code and child killers are seen as one of the lowest forms and reviled by others so that scene made more sense when I saw the film again.

    There was a remake in the fifties with David Wayne in Lorre's role, also called M, made in Hollywood in color and with the production code nipping at its heels. It's an interesting contrast but doesn't equal this version.

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    1. I can't imagine a later version of this working. It was perfectly suited for its time.

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