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(1931)

M - Eine Stadt sucht einen Mörder (original title)
Not Rated | | Crime, Mystery, Thriller | 31 August 1931 (Sweden)
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)
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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 ... 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:

Not Rated | See all certifications »

Parents Guide:

View content advisory »
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Details

Country:

Germany

Language:

German

Release Date:

31 August 1931 (Sweden) 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

The film is included on Roger Ebert's "Great Movies" list. See more »

Goofs

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

Quotes

Prostitute: Let me go, you dirty bastard! Let me go, you son of a bitch! Goddamn bastard! Put me down! Let me go!
See more »

Crazy Credits

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

Alternate Versions

In the English and French language versions, in addition to having been dubbed, had some footage re shot. These scenes include the telephone conversation between the minister and the police commissioner, and the ending of the film. Peter Lorre's performance in the trial was re shot, however this time he spoke his lines in English or French, depending upon the version. The shots of him are lit and photographed much differently than Fritz Lang's original footage. Additionally, a shot of the police arriving was inserted, taken from an earlier part of the film (whereas in the original German version no police forces are shown at all). The court scenes have been eliminated and replaced with happy endings where young children play a game similar to the one seen in the opening (English) or a smiling couple watching their children play in the street (French). See more »

Connections

Referenced in Angel Dust (1994) 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

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User Reviews

 
60 years old, and still uber-suspenseful
4 January 1999 | by Caliban-6See all my reviews

The opening scene of this movie is the first clue to its near perfection – A mother preparing dinner for her child, waiting anxiously for her to return from school. Her hope, and then distress as she hears people pass outside her door. While down in the streets of Berlin, her daughter is receiving a balloon from a strange man in a long black coat. We know what's going to happen, but it's still horrific to watch.

Fritz Lang, you cinematic god! A simple story of the underworld, the police, and a single man holding an entire city hostage, and done with such precision and pre-noir darkness that is oozes creepy suspense from beginning to end.

But this movie is not so simple as the police inspectors trying to catch a devious murderer – it's about the mob, employing its network of beggars and petty thieves also trying to bring the killer to their own brand of justice. Apparently, the police crackdown caused by the murders is bad for business – so the mob begins to track him down as well.

It's not only a great crime story, and perhaps the first physiological thriller (the murderer is schizophrenic) but there's comments to be made here about the nature of justice, and who should best dispense it.

In all, not only a trail-blazing classic, but THE trail-blazing classic.


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