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M (The Criterion Collection)

247 customer reviews

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(Dec 07, 2004)
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The Criterion Collection
$199.99 $4.46
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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.

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

Product Details

  • Actors: Peter Lorre, Ellen Widmann, Inge Landgut, Otto Wernicke, Theodor Loos
  • Directors: Fritz Lang, William Friedkin
  • Writers: Fritz Lang, Egon Jacobson, Thea von Harbou
  • Producers: Seymour Nebenzal
  • Format: Multiple Formats, 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.)
  • 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 (247 customer reviews)
  • ASIN: B00065GX64
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #80,492 in Movies & TV (See Top 100 in Movies & TV)
  • Learn more about "M (The Criterion Collection)" on IMDb

Customer Reviews

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

238 of 248 people found the following review helpful By Toshifumi Fujiwara on January 4, 2005
Format: DVD
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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59 of 61 people found the following review helpful By Amazon Customer on December 1, 2000
Format: DVD
"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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24 of 24 people found the following review helpful By David Grant on December 28, 2000
Format: DVD
When sound was first introduced into film, the natural response from filmmakers was to use it as much as they possibly could. For Fritz Lang, however, it was to be used sparingly, more like punctuation then narrative. The story of 'M' should be familiar to those who have seen Spike Lee's magnificant 'Summer Of Sam'. There's a killer on the streets, kidnapping and slaying young children, and the police and the underworld of criminals have both set their sights on him. The film doesn't really concern itself with the killer, although he does have a few striking scenes (especially at the film's end where he pitifully tries to plead his case before the kangeroo court of criminals before him) but more so with the dividing line between criminals and police. Both want the killer caught for different reasons. The police want him to end the murders, the crooks want him caught so the cops will ease off their nightly patrols. The film makes these comparisons strikingly clear. It is a powerful film about desperation and fear, justice and innocence. Peter Lorre is remarkable in the role of the killer, his bug-eyed face twisting and contorting with considerable creepiness. His ending monologue is one of the greatest moments in the history of film. Fritz Lang's direction is near-perfect and again his use of sound is breathtaking. The shrill whistling of a tune has never been so frightening before. For all those interested in seeing just how great a film can be, this is one of those must-have films in your collection.
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50 of 56 people found the following review helpful By A Customer on June 7, 2002
Format: DVD
This movie sounds VERY intriguing to me and I will probably purchase it... however, in fairness to the complaints about the Criterion transfer specifically, the lines at the top of the frame, I sent an email to Jon Mulvaney (who responds nearly immediately to ANY questions you have about Criterion releases) and I quote his reply:
"The line that you are referring to was caused by the optical printer during the creation of the original film elements of M. Most video versions have cropped out the line, therefore deleting almost 25% of the picture. We choose not to, making our decision in consultation with the restoration group who did the work from original film elements in Germany. We've tried to correct the problem as much as possible, but no matter what, it can be distracting. Even Fritz Lang knew about this."
As you would expect from them, Criterion did the best they could do (as ALWAYS!).
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