“M”- Fritz Lang’s Classic German Film


L3 Blog 1

M is one of Fritz Lang’s best known films and arguably his greatest cinematic achievement.  Virtually inventing the psychopathic serial killer genre, M was way ahead of its time in terms of subject matter and style.  Using the cinematic language you have learned thus far, discuss your overall impression of the movie.  

3 responses

  1. In spite of my expectations from an 80 year-old black and white film, I found it really interesting and fun, with a lot of turning points and thrills in the plot. I think that the setting and the general atmosphere in the movie was dark,gloomy and pessimistic, not only because it was black and white.
    I liked the gloominess of the atmosphere (for instance in the first scene when children sing about a murderer). Also I liked how the film showed the public psychology regarding the murderer, (like when they immidiately attack the old man who tells the time to a little girl).
    In addition, the investigation by the criminals was also interesting. Their approach to the situation, and the child murderer’s defense words were smartly written and planned in my opinion. I now believe I understand why this film is significant for that time and for film history.

  2. In my opinion, the tussle also the assistance between the gangsters, “normal” criminals and the police is described very well, in order to provide the serenity in the city again all the community works together. The mystery of the pedophilia murder is explicated well by the director Fritz Lang, especially in the scenes which he whistles “The Hall of the Mountain King” moreover in the scene which he was buying balloons to Elsie Beckmann additionaly there is a man who is asked for the time by a little child, even though the old man is innocent everybody considers that he is the murderer. That incident identifies the tension and fear that is felt ny the whole community. For instance in some scenesas police were trying to obtain clues about murders are a bit boring, they struggled with that issue approximately in the half period of the film and since I couldn’t see any action I was bored. In addition pressure of the police is so intense on the society, this circumstance bothers me a lot I don’t like these kind of stuff when police is so effective on community, because under this tension people can not acquire their freedom.

  3. German Expressionism is the creative movements which started in Germany before World War II. In cinema it focuses on self-reflexivity,spectacle and identity. In the movie M, we see that the murderer is killing the children, and at the end of the movie he admits that he couldn’t even understand himself and what he had done in previous days. It’s a pshycological mental disorder. We see high contrast in the shots, exaggrated and dramatic lightning also camera angles and shots emphasize the fear, horro and mystery. For example film begins with a girl singin a song which some of the lyrics are “Nasty man in black” these lyrics refer to the murderer in town. The camra angles,shots and movements aren’t diverse as Hollywood movies. There are 3 different types of angles: eye level, high and low; 4 different shots: long,close up,medium, extreme long; and 2 different movements: still and handheld zoom. In the zoom we see that camera is a little bit quakthat can be because of reasons. One can be that director wanted to create the sense of horror and the other possiblity can be that director didn’t use dolly. (Scene: Murderer sits in the cafe.) There are two different transition which are cut and dissolve. This shows that in German Expressionism they don’t give much importance to editing, they surmount on the design, mise-en-scene, atmosphere and the composition. However in this movie we can just see some effects of German Expressionism. If we compare this movie to the other expressionist movies like The Cabinet of Doctor Caligari or Metropolis we see that those movies create tension in the audience, their subjects are much more fictionalised but in this movie the subject is a classic murderer in town.

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