#61 M (1931)

Why is this movie called M? Well, director Fritz Lang called his film that since M stands for Murderer. I think M should stand for masterpiece because that’s exactly what this film is. This German crime thriller is about the hunt for a child murderer being sought out by the police, the criminal underworld, and the beggars of 1930s Germany.

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Remember that countries outside of the U.S. were not afraid to be daring in their subject matters. Even during Nazi Germany, Fritz Lang wasn’t afraid to make this movie despite that it got banned there. This isn’t one of your traditional films where there’s only one detective with a crew of side-kicks who try to hunt down the bad guy. It’s just a team of different people who follow the breadcrumbs. They aren’t finding a bank robber or a thief. This is a sensitive subject where if the person responsible isn’t found, then it reflects the whole country on how these matters are handled and children won’t be safe. Because the death of someone’s own child was everyone’s worst nightmare, that only inspired more people to step up and take action. Do you think you would have stepped up too?

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We never see any violence or gore appear onscreen. The details themselves of the murders aren’t even revealed. Lang felt this way would haunt audiences the most in which they would have to come up with their own mental image of what this guy did to those innocent kids. We see the small things that leave a great impact such as a lost balloon or a ball that a child was playing with. A toy is nothing without the child. I liked how there were two different kinds of clues by different kids of people such as the police using a letter and a blind beggar remembering the whistling of a song during the tragic event. 

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The murderer is played by the very talented Peter Loore who may not look like Hannibal Lecter in that he doesn’t have a dark tone to his voice or a skinny, snake-like figure or a creepy grin but a pudgy, bug-eyed, petrified man who could look like anyone you pass walking down the street. I like how that was done to show that anyone you pass by could be a murderer and you would never know. Loore’s performance was spectacular in that he played the murderer in a way where you can feel sorry for him in which he tells the court in a heart-wrenching monologue that he can’t help being who he is and feels a voice in his head is telling him what to do. Write in if anyone thinks he had schizophrenia. But then of course anyone, especially a parent, could never feel sympathy no matter what the reason is for anyone who continuously kills children, ruining the lives of others. A monster like that can never change. The message is simple- watch your children and keep them safe because a child can disappear in the snap of a finger.

Watch Fritz Lang’s brilliant masterpiece and comment what you think:

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One thought on “#61 M (1931)

  1. Pingback: #86 The Thin Man (1934) – 1001 Films in 365 Days

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