Fritz Lang’s 1931 film M is considered by many to be a classic example of film noir. It’s made it into a few top 100 lists (including being #50 on IMDb), and is cited as being a major influence on both the genre and films in general. It was filmed in German, but the Criterion Collection has released a version with deftly-translated subtitles; when I had the opportunity to see that version, I decided to do so.
The film is inspired by various serial killers around Germany at the time that Lang was writing it. It stars Peter Lorre as a disturbed man who has become a serial child killer in a German city, and Lorre’s performance is exceptionally creepy, especially with Lang adding in one of the first leitmotifs in film history, with the killer (actually Lang dubbed in) whistling “In the Hall of the Mountain King” whenever he is taken by his compulsion to stalk, kidnap, and murder children. Continue reading