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M (The Criterion Collection) (1931)

Peter Lorre , William Friedkin , William Friedkin , Fritz Lang  |  NR |  DVD
4.6 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (205 customer reviews)

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M (The Criterion Collection) + The Complete Metropolis + The Cabinet of Dr. Caligari (Restored Authorized Edition)
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Product Details

  • Actors: Peter Lorre, William Friedkin, Fritz Lang, Ellen Widmann, Inge Landgut
  • Directors: William Friedkin, Fritz Lang
  • Writers: Fritz Lang, Egon Jacobson, Thea von Harbou
  • Producers: Seymour Nebenzal
  • Format: Black & White, Closed-captioned, NTSC, Special Edition, Subtitled
  • Language: German
  • Subtitles: English
  • Region: Region 1 (U.S. and Canada only. Read more about DVD formats.)
  • Aspect Ratio: 1.33:1
  • Number of discs: 2
  • Rated: NR (Not Rated)
  • Studio: Criterion
  • DVD Release Date: December 7, 2004
  • Run Time: 110 minutes
  • Average Customer Review: 4.6 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (205 customer reviews)
  • ASIN: B00065GX64
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #42,707 in Movies & TV (See Top 100 in Movies & TV)
  • Learn more about "M (The Criterion Collection)" on IMDb

Special Features

  • New digital transfer with restored image and sound plus new subtitle translation
  • Conversation with Fritz Lang, an interview film by William Friedkin
  • Claude Chabrol's M le Maudet, a short film inspired by M
  • Classroom tapes of M editor Paul Falkenberg discussing the film and its history
  • Interview with Harold Nebenzal, the son of M producer Seymour Nebenzal
  • A physical history of M
  • Stills gallery, with behind-the-scenes photos, and production sketches by art director Emil Hasler
  • Plus: a booklet featuring an essay by film critic Stanley Kauffmann, a 1963 interview with Lang, and the script for a missing scene

Editorial Reviews

On moratorium since the end of March, Fritz Lang's serial killer thriller starring Peter Lorre returns to DVD in a fully restored, special edition double-disc set. A simple, haunting musical phrase whistled off-screen tells us that a young girl will be killed. "Who is the murderer?" pleads a nearby placard as serial killer Hans Beckert (Lorre) closes in on little Elsie Beckmann... In his harrowing masterwork, Lang merged trenchant social commentary with chilling suspense, creating a panorama of private madness and public hysteria that to this day remains the blueprint for the psychological thriller. The Criterion Collection is proud to present a new restoration of this landmark film in an all-new two-disc set, also including audio commentary by two German film scholars; an interview film Conversation with Fritz Lang, directed by William Friedkin (The Exorcist, The French Connection); a short film inspired by M by director Claude Chabrol (La Ceremonie, Les Biches); classroom tapes of M's editor discussing the film and its history; and much more.

Customer Reviews

Most Helpful Customer Reviews
220 of 227 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Again? ...but well, I've got to buy this one... January 4, 2005
I'm sorry for those who already own the former 1999 Criterion DVD of M (including myself, of course....) but this one is a must-buy item.

After more than 7 decades since its making, Fritz Lang's M remains a poignantly modern film; a striking portrait of the contemporary human world as we live in.

Fritz Lang, who always regarded M as his best film and the one by which he would be remembered, used to call it "a documentary". It is one of the first films about serial killers, and already Lang goes beyond depicting the pathology of such criminal; what M examines is the pathology of our contemporary society of urbanization, mass politics, and mass media: it's also a film about a 20th century metropolis of mass society and mass media culture.

The former Criterion DVD edition of M was made of the best available material back then-- a print restored from many different sources, re-establishing as close as possible, Lang's original release cut. It was also a good transfer for a standard, NTSC digital medium.

But what sometime happen in the world of film restoration is, some materials that have been considered to be lost are suddenly be re-discovered. This new edition of M is created (for the most parts, expect for one reel which was missing) from the original camera negative, and transferred to HD video master. The result is-more details, less scratches, finer grains, and more subtleties.

The earlier DVD was a bare one. This new edition presents Lang's portrayal of social pathology of the 30's also with an audio commentary by Anton Kaes and Eric Renteschler.
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65 of 68 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars "This man is a mental case." May 4, 2005
By Dave
Having seen most of director Fritz Lang's wonderful films noir, I finally decided to get a copy of his famous "M" from 1931. After seeing it I readily agree with previous reviewers who call this one of the true masterpieces of German cinema. And, as many film noir historians have written, "M" paved the way for the entire genre in terms of style and cinematography. Peter Lorre, despite playing a dispicable character, gave the performance of his career. Oh and in case you haven't seen the film, the movie's title refers to the letter that's used to identify Peter Lorre as the murderer when he tries to escape.

Peter Lorre plays a psychotic child murderer in Berlin who kills "because he can't help it". The police have looked everywhere for the elusive killer but can't find him. The crime leaders of Berlin are fed up, not because there's a child killer on the loose, but because his murders are causing the police to interfere with the underworld's business activities as they bring in and question virtually every criminal in sight. The crime leaders organize their own searching party and they finally catch up with the now terrified murderer after a relentless chase (which takes up a large portion of the film). Next the underworld leaders set up their own trial and the child killer trembles in fear as his life is in the hands of these mob leaders. I won't spoil the ending, but let's just say it's classic Fritz Lang.

I've seen some truly awful prints of "M" released on vhs but was very relieved to discover that Criterion had carefully restored the classic masterpiece. In short, you won't find a better print of "M" anywhere else! The image is sharp and clear and the sound quality is superb. I only wish many other classic films could get the same high-quality restoration. The bonus features are also wonderful and are furthur proof that the Criterion special edition of "M" is THE one to buy. Highly recommended!
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54 of 56 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars A classic every film lover should see December 1, 2000
"M" has everything you could hope in a great film. The acting by Peter Lorre, Gustaf Gründgens, Otto Wernicke, and the rest of the cast all perfectly convey the different personalities in this complex story. The use of black & white and shadows is very moody and haunting. The use of sound is very important since it will tell you things the camera isn't showing. The camera work itself is amazing. I especially love the long shot in the beginning of the scene of the beggars are signing up to watch the streets where the camera moves back and forth, up and into a room through a window without a cut.
"M" offers so much for the viewer -- thrills, suspense, humor, terror! I enjoy it more and more with every repeated viewing. Fritz Lang does more than just give ideas on insane criminals. He compares and contrasts the police and the underworld criminal systems. You learn about the "state-of-the-art " systems of that time. And the last words harken a most important message that unfortunately is still true today. Also, if you look deeper, you can even sense Lang's anti-Nazi sentiments.
It's a Criterion Collection DVD, so I had high expectations. I was disappointed with a lack of extras, but I happily noticed scenes that weren't on my VHS version. The picture was mostly clear with white lines rarely popping up. There were long passages of no sound at times, but it's possible it's supposed to be like that. (I no longer have my VHS version to compare.) The subtitles were clear and easy to read. There's interesting details on the film in the liner notes. And not like this would influence anyone's buying decisions, but I also loved the design on the case and the disc.
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Most Recent Customer Reviews
1.0 out of 5 stars German - it's in German
I just wanted to see a movie featuring Peter Lorre. The plot revolves around a killer of children. The movie is in German and the subtitles were difficult to read. Read more
Published 8 days ago by David
5.0 out of 5 stars A Brilliant Classic with VERY Interesting Historical Trivia
I thoroughly enjoyed this movie. I've been a huge Peter Lorre fan since I was a kid, mostly due to the number of times he has been parodied and referenced in kids cartoons and... Read more
Published 1 month ago by jaimeslee
5.0 out of 5 stars The "Noir" Influence
This particular motion picture came to my attention as I researched Nazi Germany.The opinions unearthed as it were suggested that "M" was an influenced film which was in effect... Read more
Published 1 month ago by CitizenChampion
5.0 out of 5 stars M
Peter Lorre is great as the man who kills children. M is an excellent film. A man is killing children and the police are going after everybody with a record, so the criminals... Read more
Published 2 months ago by Bwhami
4.0 out of 5 stars A forerunner of modern mystery / thrillers
My daughter and I watched this film for one of her classes. I was surprised by how much I enjoyed it. Read more
Published 2 months ago by John E. Entwistle
5.0 out of 5 stars Classic
This movie is a Classic. It was very enjoyable, and I am not much into foriegn subtitled movies. Love this movie though.
Published 2 months ago by Andrew Haddock
4.0 out of 5 stars This was a gift
As far as I know my friend liked this book. Same review for all the other Criterion Collection books I've purchased.
Published 3 months ago by Peter E. Larson
5.0 out of 5 stars A true terror story
"M" is a German expressionist film directed by the auteur Fritz Lang. It's the story of a child murderer, played brilliantly by Peter Lorre, and the people who are trying... Read more
Published 4 months ago by B. Adducchio
5.0 out of 5 stars One of the Great Films
Germany suffered a small epidemic of monstrous serial killers in the years before Lang made this film, and their notoriety may have inspired him. Read more
Published 5 months ago by Lloyd Smith
5.0 out of 5 stars It's one of my favorite movies!
It's one of my favorite movies and it was time to own it. classic film in the genre. i highly recomment.
Published 6 months ago by moviequeen1960
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