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M [DVD]

4.5 out of 5 stars 63 customer reviews

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Product details

  • Actors: Peter Lorre, Ellen Widmann, Inge Landgut, Otto Wernicke, Theodor Loos
  • Directors: Fritz Lang
  • Writers: Fritz Lang, Egon Jacobson, Thea von Harbou
  • Producers: Seymour Nebenzal
  • Format: PAL
  • Language: German
  • Subtitles: English
  • Region: Region 2 (This DVD may not be viewable outside Europe. Read more about DVD formats.)
  • Aspect Ratio: 4:3 - 1.33:1
  • Number of discs: 1
  • Classification: PG
  • Studio: Eureka
  • DVD Release Date: 13 Sept. 1999
  • Run Time: 110 minutes
  • Average Customer Review: 4.5 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (63 customer reviews)
  • ASIN: B00004CZIP
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: 119,188 in DVD & Blu-ray (See Top 100 in DVD & Blu-ray)

Product Description

Product Description

Fritz Lang's first sound film is now regarded as an Expressionist classic. The city of Berlin is being terrorised by a notorious child molester and, frustrated by the failure of the police to catch the culprit, the underworld criminals organise themselves to hunt him down. Peter Lorre portrays the snivelling, compulsive psychopath in a role that typecast him for life and the film was remade in 1951 by director Joseph Losey.

From Amazon.co.uk

Peter Lorre made film history with his startling performance as a psychotic murderer of children. Too elusive for the Berlin police, the killer is sought and marked by underworld criminals who are feeling the official fallout for his crimes. This riveting, 1931 German drama by Fritz Lang--an early talkie--unfolds against a breathtakingly expressionistic backdrop of shadows and clutter, an atmosphere of predestination that seems to be closing in on Lorre's terrified villain. M is an important piece of cinema's past along with a number of Lang's early German works, including Metropolis and Spies. (Lang eventually brought his influence directly to the American cinema in such films as Fury, They Clash by Night and The Big Heat.) M shouldn't be missed. This original 111-minute version is a little different from what most people have seen in the cinema. --Tom Keogh, Amazon.com

Customer Reviews

Top Customer Reviews

Format: DVD Verified Purchase
Fritz Lang, probably better known for the masterful `Metropolis', is responsible for this rather disturbing and thought provoking study of a serial child killer in mid war Germany. The story has been compellingly constructed by a master craftsman. From the earliest scenes of a mother waiting for her child to come home, through the police hunt for the killer, then the trial at the end, with Peter Lorre's defence, this is gripping stuff.

The story centres around Peter Lorre as the disturbed and disturbing killer. I was more familiar with his later, more comedic roles in America, and was totally blown away by this incredible performance. His performance is perfectly nuanced, playing the frightened man to a tee.

The story is shown in a series of set pieces. The film starts with images of a child playing in a street, and her mother waiting for her to come home. The child never arrives, and the scenes of Mother waiting in her flat with dinner on the table, and eventually receiving the news are emotionally charged. There is hysteria in Berlin, and a police search for the killer. The police procedures are shown in amazing forensic detail, and are totally gripping. The action shifts to the criminal underworld, who are being hurt by the police intrusion into their activities during their hunt for the killer. They decide to take their own action, tracking down the killer in a series of totally gripping scenes, then comes the films masterstroke - the criminals put Lorre on trial and he is forced to defend himself in front of the `court'. His defence is brilliant, his explanation for his crimes utterly disturbing - we are left feeling that we have been given insight into the mind of a real murderer.
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Format: Blu-ray
Blu-ray Specifications:

Case Type - Slimmer U.S type case.

Disc - AVC, BD50, Region B locked.

Video - 1.19:1 aspect ratio in a 16:9 frame (black bars appear at the left and right of the screen). 1080p/24fps. Black and White.

Audio - Original German language. 2.0 dual mono DTS-HD Master Audio.

Subtitles - Optional English subtitles.

Supplements -
Commentary with German film scholars Anton Kaes and Eric Rentschler.
Commentary with film restoration expert Martin Koerber, filmmaker Peter Bogdanovich, historian Torsten Kaiser and excerpts from Bogdanovich's 1965 audio interviews with Fritz Lang.
20 minute interview with Fritz Lang (box says documentary, but its more of an interview).
Shorter 1932 U.K theatrical release version (in English language and upscaled to 1080p) - features alternate takes, and different actors.
48 page booklet.

Censorship? - No censorship or cuts have been made to the film on this disc. The BBFC have given the film a PG Certficate. The film contains disturbing subject matter and infrequent mild bad language. This is the longest version of the film (110 minutes) that has been available since the films premiere.

'M' is a superb thriller, and possibly Fritz Lang's finest film. Considering the time it was made it is quite disturbing, and i can imagine audiences in the early thirties were shocked when they saw this film in the cinema. Peter Lorre is excellent as the child killer and the films final moments are extremely powerful. The picture quality is easily one the best i've seen for a film this old. Plenty of grain and no digital tinkering as far as i know.
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Format: Blu-ray
NB - As is Amazon's wont, they have bundled together the reviews for various editions of this film (the Criterion and Masters of Cinema DVD and Blu-ray releases all have different extras). This review refers to the Eureka Blu-ray.

Surprisingly rarely revived on television or event cinematheques these days, making it the kind of film you have to seek out and buy if you want to see these days, M comes with such a legendary reputation that it just seems to invite disappointment. Yet more than eight decades since it revived Fritz Lang's failing career after the twin failures of Metropolis and Woman in the Moon and making Peter Lorre's name as the pathetic child murderer hunted by an entire city, it's still both a remarkably gripping and powerful movie that leaves a lasting impression and a surprisingly exhilarating and at times breathless thriller that never lets its dark subject matter batter the film down or turn it into a sermon.

With the remarkable visual sense that Lang's American films were never really able to duplicate as his work became gradually smoothed away into polished studio system product, it's a surprisingly energetic film as it crams a whole city into its 110-minute running time (it was originally 117 minutes, but seven - dealing with attention-seekers confessing to the murder - are still missing). There's a fascinating use of both sound and sequences of uncomfortable and prolonged total silence that's even uncannily devoid of the usual `room noise,' creating a unique atmosphere that's surprisingly disorientating (the music and effects that were added for these mute scenes for later reissues have been removed for the Blu-ray).
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