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M

  • Directed by Fritz Lang
  • Germany, 1931, 111 mins., German

Featuring a new digital restoration by the Munich Film Archive, M is one of the most influential films in the thriller genre. Fritz Lang’s first sound film is a haunting, terrifying dive into an urban underworld where the lines between good and evil are disturbingly murky. Hans Beckert—Peter Lorre in an indelible performance—is a child murderer tracked by both the police and his criminal colleagues. “In the rigor of its construction where theme, style, and mood all express a kind of entrapment that is at once psychological and based in reality, M is a precursor not only to Lang’s American films but to American film noir in general. Sound is used ingeniously, with music limited to the Peer Gynt theme, which both torments the murderer and hauntingly announces his presence in place of the image. Few films have so successfully fused atmosphere with plot, image with sound, and expressed gestures with those unexpressed but felt.”—British Film Institute.

Genres: Crime, Drama, Mystery

Other Films by Fritz Lang

You and Me

Department store owner Mr. Morris (Harry Carey) runs a tight ship, but differs from his competitors in that he hires ex-convicts looking to re-make their lives and go straight. One his employees, Joe (George Raft in a typically gangsterish performance), can’t seem to keep crime off his mind and hopes to hightail it to California.

Rancho Notorious

Fritz Lang’s finest Hollywood western, Rancho Notorious is an oddball Technicolor fever dream, a revenge story for the ages. Vern Haskell (a brutally angry Arthur Kennedy) sets out to kill the man who raped and murdered his fiancée (Gloria Henry), eventually crossing paths with the gunslinger Frenchy Fairmont (the perpetually squinting Mel Ferrer) and outlaw-ranch-runner