8.4/10
109,087
304 user 197 critic

(1931)

Not Rated | | Crime, Drama, Mystery | 31 August 1931 (Sweden)
When the police in a German city are unable to catch a child-murderer, other criminals join in the manhunt.

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Cast

Cast overview, first billed only:
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Ellen Widmann ...
...
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Theodor Loos ...
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Friedrich Gnaß ...
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...
...
Rudolf Blümner ...
Georg John ...
Franz Stein ...
Ernst Stahl-Nachbaur ...
Gerhard Bienert ...
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Storyline

In Germany, Hans Beckert is an unknown killer of girls. He whistles Edvard Grieg's 'In The Hall of the Mountain King', from the 'Peer Gynt' Suite I Op. 46 while attracting the little girls for death. The police force pressed by the Minister give its best effort trying unsuccessfully to arrest the serial killer. The organized crime has great losses due to the intense search and siege of the police and decides to chase the murderer, with the support of the beggars association. They catch Hans and briefly judge him. Written by Claudio Carvalho, Rio de Janeiro, Brazil

Plot Summary | Plot Synopsis

Taglines:

IT STAGGERS THE SENSES!...SHOCKS the Imagination - It will leave you Gasping - It is the Sensation of 3 Continents!


Certificate:

Not Rated | See all certifications »

Parents Guide:

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Details

Country:

Language:

Release Date:

31 August 1931 (Sweden)  »

Also Known As:

M  »

Box Office

Opening Weekend:

$6,123 (USA) (15 March 2013)

Gross:

$28,877 (USA) (31 May 2013)
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Company Credits

Production Co:

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Technical Specs

Runtime:

| (2004 Criterion DVD edition) | (2000 restored) | (re-release)

Sound Mix:

Aspect Ratio:

1.20 : 1
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Did You Know?

Trivia

The film premiered in 1931. Adolf Hitler and his Nazi party took power in 1933, and banned the film the next year. It was then stored in a vault, where it stayed for many years. Audiences didn't get the chance to see the film again until 1966. For its video release 30 years later, it underwent a restoration that included the addition of music and sound effects that wouldn't have been authorized by Fritz Lang (he deliberately kept certain passages quiet) and the cutting of certain scenes. The image had also been altered to fit the 4:3 screen size. These injustices were amended in 2009 for the film's Blu-ray release. See more »

Quotes

Girl in Circle at the Beginning: [First lines] Just you wait, it won't be long, The man in black will soon be here, With his cleaver's blade so true, He'll make mincemeat out of you!
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Crazy Credits

All of the original credits appear only in the beginning with no music. See more »

Connections

Referenced in Brazil (1985) See more »

Soundtracks

Le Halle du Roi de la Montagne
in "Peer Gynt Suite No.1, Op.46" (1876)
Written by Edvard Grieg
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Frequently Asked Questions

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User Reviews

 
60 years old, and still uber-suspenseful

The opening scene of this movie is the first clue to its near perfection – A mother preparing dinner for her child, waiting anxiously for her to return from school. Her hope, and then distress as she hears people pass outside her door. While down in the streets of Berlin, her daughter is receiving a balloon from a strange man in a long black coat. We know what's going to happen, but it's still horrific to watch.

Fritz Lang, you cinematic god! A simple story of the underworld, the police, and a single man holding an entire city hostage, and done with such precision and pre-noir darkness that is oozes creepy suspense from beginning to end.

But this movie is not so simple as the police inspectors trying to catch a devious murderer – it's about the mob, employing its network of beggars and petty thieves also trying to bring the killer to their own brand of justice. Apparently, the police crackdown caused by the murders is bad for business – so the mob begins to track him down as well.

It's not only a great crime story, and perhaps the first physiological thriller (the murderer is schizophrenic) but there's comments to be made here about the nature of justice, and who should best dispense it.

In all, not only a trail-blazing classic, but THE trail-blazing classic.


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