6.9/10
1,438
33 user 20 critic

(1951)

Not Rated | | Drama, Film-Noir, Thriller | March 1951 (USA)
In this Americanization of the 1931 German thriller, both the police and the criminal underworld stalk a mysterious killer who preys on small children.

Director:

Joseph Losey

Writers:

Norman Reilly Raine (screen play by), Leo Katcher (screen play by) | 1 more credit »
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Cast

Cast overview, first billed only:
David Wayne ... Martin W. Harrow
Howard Da Silva ... Inspector Carney
Martin Gabel ... Charlie Marshall
Luther Adler ... Dan Langley
Steve Brodie ... Police Lt. Becker
Raymond Burr ... Pottsy
Glenn Anders ... Riggert
Norman Lloyd ... Sutro
Walter Burke ... MacMahan
John Miljan ... Blind Baloon Vendor
Roy Engel ... Police Chief Regan
Janine Perreau ... The Last Little Girl
Leonard Bremen ... Lemke (as Lennie Bremen)
Benny Burt Benny Burt ... Jansen
Bernard Szold Bernard Szold ... Bradbury Bldg. Watchman
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Storyline

There is a baby killer loose and the police can't find him. He is a sick, psychotic and confused individual, though guilty. The increased police activity trying to find the baby killer is interfering with the mob's criminal activities. The gangsters are not pleased the intense police attention so the mob decides to find him themselves. The mob bosses send the mobsters out to find him. He is found and the young girl he grabbed is saved. A mock trial is conducted in the basement of a parking garage in front of mass of gangsters who captured him and citizens demanding blood. The baby criminal is defended by a lawyer provided by the mob boss. As the police show up, the mob boss shoots the lawyer defending the baby killer because he is doing too good of a job defending the baby killer. Both the mob boss and the baby killer are taken into custody by the police for justice. As the movie ends and the guilty are led out of the parking garage, we hear the spooky single tune played on a flute ... Written by Hal Wigoda

Plot Summary | Add Synopsis

Taglines:

DARING! For the first time, the screen speaks of... 'M' ...the worst crime of all! See more »


Certificate:

Not Rated | See all certifications »
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Details

Country:

USA

Language:

English

Release Date:

March 1951 (USA) See more »

Also Known As:

M le maudit See more »

Company Credits

Production Co:

Superior Pictures See more »
Show more on IMDbPro »

Technical Specs

Runtime:

Sound Mix:

Mono (RCA Sound System)

Aspect Ratio:

1.37 : 1
See full technical specs »
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Did You Know?

Trivia

At 00:33 minutes, when the mobster is recruiting homeless men as lookouts, there are two signs on the alley wall behind him. The smaller, at upper left, reads: "Beware of Sneak Thieves". The large calligraphy reads: "When did you write to your mother last?". The latter was a popular choice for homeless missions of the day. See more »

Goofs

When the killer and the little girl are locked in the room, the large shadow of the microphone boom is clearly visible on the wall on the left side of the screen after she sits down on the floor. See more »

Quotes

Lt. Becker: I just washed out the last bum we picked up.
Inspector Carney: Maybe we should widen the field.
Lt. Becker: Bums don't sue for false arrest.
Inspector Carney: We keep on picking up bums and the guy we're looking for could be a professor, a storekeeper, maybe even a cop. We look for him in honky tonks and he might be on a golf course.
See more »

Connections

Referenced in Henri Langlois: The Phantom of the Cinémathèque (2004) See more »

Frequently Asked Questions

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User Reviews

 
not quite as bad as its reputation
4 July 2009 | by didi-5See all my reviews

Fritz Lang's classic 'M' back in the 1930s is a well-regarded classic, which brought Peter Lorre to prominence and a career in Hollywood.

This film, made twenty years later by Joseph Losey, starred light comedian David Wayne as the child-killer, and has much of the same storyline and set-pieces as its predecessor. But is it any good? It has its chilling moments - notably the ones involving the plasticine figure and the bird at the cafe - and Wayne, in a largely silent part, is surprisingly good. But much of the film is a copy of the original, and this lessens its impact. Also, the character of the lawyer who has gone to drink is too prominent, and the underworld search for the murderer who threatens their operation doesn't quite fit on the mean streets of LA, where it did in Germany.

Not as bad as I'd heard, in fact this film is really quite good, but some bad editing decisions (acknowledged at the time of its release by Losey) have done damage. It deserves a nod for unusual casting though.


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