M - Eine Stadt sucht einen Mörder (1931) R2 German Cover

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M – Digitally Remastered

M – Digitally Remastered

Directed by celebrated German expressionist Fritz Lang (Metropolis), M is a classic early-talkie and crime thriller set in 1931 Berlin. In this haunting portrait of a diseased society, the police are unable to catch a child-murderer so other criminals join in the manhunt.

Anxious to capture the elusive child killer Hans Beckert (Peter Lorre – The Man Who Knew Too Much), police begin rounding up every criminal in town. The underworld leaders decide to take the heat off their activities by catching the murderer themselves.

Once the locals identify Beckert, they mark him by chalking the letter “M” on his back. The combined forces of the Berlin criminal community capture him and then put him on trial for his life in a kangaroo court.

The killer pleads for mercy, insisting that he cannot control his homicidal instincts. Just as the enraged mob is about to kill Beckert, the police close in and rescue him from the underworld so that he can stand a proper trial. This film’s final message is an ominous warning to parents everywhere, advising them to keep a closer watch over their children.

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). Hollywood remade M in 1951, with David Wayne as the killer.

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