(1931, Peter Lorre, Dir. Fritz Lang)
From what I have read, M
was Fritz Lang's first talkie film. I like how it keeps a lot of a silent film sensibilities though - whole stretches of time in the film where there is either no noise, or very little noise that's to the point, like a sharp whistle. The visuals are allowed to tell the story solo for a while and it makes one wonder if our current cinema couldn't learn something from this - to have scenes completely without sound. Today, a scene without words has to be filled with music, and thus a lot of cinema is filled with these mini music videos. I don't mind these terribly though they can get old, but the discipline of a good silent sequence is far more impressive.
Forgive the tangent - back to the film: I love the cinematography of M - the vignetting effect, in which the edges are darkened, a representation perhaps of the meance that surrounds this city in the form of a child-murderer. Also, there's a wonderful sequence where the camera skitters through a gathering place of beggars.
Peter Lorre is fantastic as the serial killer - deplorable and pathetic, a figure of torment that deals out torment. His exaggerated features - particularly his large eyes - are perfect, especially as he is being tracked down like a rat.
Overall I give the film a 9/10