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M (The Criterion Collection) (1931)

Peter Lorre , Ellen Widmann , Fritz Lang , William Friedkin  |  NR |  DVD
4.6 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (211 customer reviews)

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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.)
  • 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 (211 customer reviews)
  • ASIN: B00065GX64
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #28,318 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
228 of 235 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
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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55 of 57 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars A classic every film lover should see 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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43 of 45 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars In all fairness to Criterion June 7, 2002
By A Customer
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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21 of 21 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Impressive considering the film's age. January 6, 2000
Format:DVD
Another reviewer here has covered the plot of the film and how good a film it is quite well, so I will concern myself with the merits of the DVD itself. The transfer is very good for a film that is nearly 70 years old. It is clear and reasonably free from defects. There is one small place in which the film appears to fold over on itself, but this lasts for only a moment. It is presented in 1.33:1 aspect ratio, the standard at the time the film was made. The soundtrack is mono and presented entirely trough the center channel. The dialog is easily heard and understandable (if you speak German) and the subtitles are well done. The whistling of the piece from Grieg's Peer Gynt suite is a bit high and tinny at times, but that merely adds to the jarring effect that it is meant to (and does) have on the viewer. This film is a masterpiece from the earliest era of sound motion pictures, and it holds up well to this day. The presentation is not perfect, but it is pleasing and given the age of this film, I don't know that it could be done any better.
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Most Recent Customer Reviews
2.0 out of 5 stars Two Stars
Over rated.
Published 5 days ago by DY
5.0 out of 5 stars Truly Kafkaesque


Fritz Lang just might be the greatest director ever to have lived. He is also one of the most stylistically contradictory. Read more
Published 12 days ago by Mad Zack
5.0 out of 5 stars it is not only one of the greatest movies ever made but it is one that...
I recently became interested in "Noir". After seeing M appear in more than one "best of..." or "top _(insert number here)" list, I couldn't resist. Read more
Published 14 days ago by Amazon Customer
5.0 out of 5 stars Five Stars
Bought this as a gift for my husband. It was an intriguing story.
Published 23 days ago by Candace Scott
5.0 out of 5 stars A must for cinema buffs. Top performance by Peter ...
A must for cinema buffs. Top performance by Peter Lorre in his career. The drama has just a touch of humor which blends in without overpowering the powerful story line.
Published 28 days ago by Warren B. in C. B.
5.0 out of 5 stars M = Masterpiece.
"M" is a classic German thriller, easily one of the greatest movies of the '30s and still one of the greatest movies of all time. Read more
Published 1 month ago by Joeywoodburn
5.0 out of 5 stars It really is quite good. Peter Lorre is creepy as always
Trying to learn German so rented this German film with English subtitles. It really is quite good. Peter Lorre is creepy as always.
Published 2 months ago by PoopScoopGuy
5.0 out of 5 stars Scary. Predators have been with us a long time ...
Scary . Predators have been with us a long time!
Published 2 months ago by D. Brown
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 6 months 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 6 months ago by CitizenChampion
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