Saturday, May 21, 2011


Fritz Lang, 1931, bw (9.0*)
No. 11 on our compendium of all polls, No. 55 on the IMDB 250
M. is the classic Fritz Lang suspense thriller in which someone is murdering children in a German city, the police can't catch him, and the manhunt is so intense that it's interrupting all the normal crime, so even criminals enlist in the killer's search.

Peter Lorre is the psychotic serial killer, in a chilling performance, one that put him on the map as a creepy actor that can sell a sociopathic character. Lang did a great job capturing both the uneasiness and the complexity of the characters, as well as creating the atmospheric mood with lighting and cinematography, characteristic trademarks of German expressionism. Lang is more interested in the effects of the killings on the town than the actual crimes.

Like Murnau (Sunrise, The Last Laugh, Nosferatu) and Pabst (Pandora's Box), Lang is a must-see for fans of early cinema, particularly German, and before they came to Hollywood, which makes M. essential viewing as well. His 1926 masterpiece, Metropolis, is the most famous and significant early science fiction film, the same can be said for this film in the genre of crime.


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These are the individual film reviews of what I'm considering the best 1000 dvds available, whether they are films, miniseries, or live concerts. Rather than rush out all 1000 at once, I'm doing them over time to allow inclusion of new releases - in fact, 2008 has the most of any year so far, 30 titles in all; that was a very good year for films, one of the best ever.

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