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M - Eine Stadt sucht einen Mörder

M

Germany 1931
produced by
Seymour Nebenzal for Nero Film
directed by Fritz Lang
starring Peter Lorre, Otto Wernicke, Gustaf Gründgens, Theodor Loos, Friedrich Gnass, Georg John, Fritz Odemar, Paul Kemp, Theo Lingen, Rudolf Blümner, Franz Stein, Ellen Widmann, Inge Landgut, Ernst Stahl-Nachbaur, Gerhard Bienert, Karl Platten, Rosa Valetti, Hertha von Walther
written by Fritz Lang, Thea von Harbou

Kommissar Lohmann

review by
Mike Haberfelner

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Depression-era Germany: A killer of children roams the streets of Berlin, but seemingly, he leaves no clues that could lead to him, so the town is left in terror, and soon enough everybody is suspecting everybody else.The police, led by Kommissar Lohman (Otto Wernicke) tries to follow up the few leads it has, but to no avail, and soon enough all they can think out is raiding the known gangster hang-outs daily, which makes it hard for the common criminals to do their regular work.

So the bosses of organized crime meet, and under the guidance of Schränker (Gustaf Gründgens) they decide to hunt down the killer themselves, with the help of the organisation of beggars, since beggars are the only ones who can go everywhere unnoticed.

And while the police has finally found the vital clue that leads them to the killer, Beckert (Peter Lorre), a blind beggar (Georg John) has already identified Beckert by his whistling, and beggars and gangsters hunt him down to an office building, where Beckert has himself locked in. So that night, all of Berlin's gangsterdom breaks into the building, turns the house upside down (but leabves the bank that is in the building untouched) and finally finds and captures Beckert. They only make one mistake when they leave one of them behind ...

Beckert is dragged to an abandoned warehouse, where the gangsters, again under Schränker's guidance, try him. Beckert even gets his own defender (Rudolf Blümner), but neither Beckert's confession that he can't help himself not to murder children, nor the pleas of his defender for his life seem top be enough to keep the gangsters from lynching him ... only the police that arrives at the scene just in time seems to save Beckert - and put him in front of a proper judge ...

 


Loosely based on real life serialkiller Peter Kürten, the film is in part gangster film and in part serial killer film that even leaves room open for social comment and a plea against the death penalty as such in the end - and it is Fritzh Lang's best movie, bar none. Inventive use of camera angles, camera movement and sound, and the incredibly creepy acting of Peter Lorre (his first film) turn the rather simple story into a cinematic masterpiece, that to this day holds more suspense, and beneath its simplistic surfacde is more intelligent than most serialkiller movies to follow. A must-see.

 

review © by Mike Haberfelner

 

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Thanks for watching !!!

 

 

Robots and rats,
demons and potholes,
cuddly toys and
shopping mall Santas,
love and death and everything in between,
Tales to Chill
Your Bones to

is all of that.

 

Tales to Chill
Your Bones to
-
a collection of short stories and mini-plays
ranging from the horrific to the darkly humourous,
from the post-apocalyptic
to the weirdly romantic,
tales that will give you a chill and maybe a chuckle, all thought up by
the twisted mind of
screenwriter and film reviewer
Michael Haberfelner.

 

Tales to Chill
Your Bones to

the new anthology by
Michael Haberfelner

 

Out now from
Amazon!!!

 

 

 

On the same day
a Burglar wants to kill you
and your Ex wants
to make up ...
... and for the life of it,
you can't decide
WHICH IS WORSE!!!

 

A Killer Conversation

produced by and starring
Melanie Denholme
directed by
David V.G. Davies
written by
Michael Haberfelner
starring
Ryan Hunter and
Rudy Barrow

out now on DVD