Fritz Lang's classic early talkie crime melodrama is set in 1931 Berlin. The police are anxious to capture an elusive child murderer (Peter Lorre), and they begin rounding up every criminal in town. The underworld leaders decide to take the heat off their activities by catching the child killer themselves. Once the killer is fingered, he is marked with the letter "M" chalked on his back. He is tracked down and captured by the combined forces of the Berlin criminal community, who put him on trial for his life in a kangaroo court. The killer pleads for mercy, whining that he can't control his homicidal instincts. The police close in and rescue the killer from the underworld so that he can stand trial again in "respectable" circumstances. Some prints of the film end with a caution to the audience to watch after their children more carefully. Filmed in Germany, M was the film that solidified Fritz Lang's reputation with American audiences, and it also made a star out of Peter Lorre (previously a specialist in comedy roles!). M was remade by Hollywood in 1951, with David Wayne giving a serviceable performance as the killer. ~ Hal Erickson, Rovi
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This movie is absolutely amazing. Very stark and simple, but incredibly vivid and intense. There is a child killer on the loose and the townspeople rally to find him. He is marked with the letter "M" so he can be located after he gets away. Once the killer is found again, the residents serve as judge, jury, and executioner. It really is thrilling and very edge-of-your-seat. I had never seen such an old movie (it's even black and white) but was mesmerized the entire time. Never a dull moment. This director is a master. Very highly recommended. You find out at the end that the letter "M" is very telling.
Excellent! This movie delivered a great story-line about a child-murderer/sex criminal without giving all the gruesome details that a movie of today would. I enjoy movies that leave a bit more to the imagination and have implied details. This movie surprised me with it's ability to address crimes and topics that are timeless. I watched this with my husband, who usually hates subtitled movies. He gave this one the thumbs up as well.
This is a very strong showing for Lorre, who is the exact opposite of what we would think a child molester would be. Sweet, quiet and innocent, or is that the typical child molester? Please carry more of his movies, Blockbuster...