M

In cinemas from 5 September

Made two years before Hitler came to power, Fritz Lang’s first sound film is a great psychological thriller, a trenchant treatise on crime and justice, and a vivid portrait of the rapidly disintegrating Weimar Republic.

Peter Lorre shot to stardom as the compulsive child murderer who is hunted down not only by a desperate, frustrated police force, but - rather more ruthlessly - by Berlin’s criminal underworld. The extraordinarily detailed police procedures are based on Lang’s research at the Alexanderplatz police headquarters, while the documentary-style depiction of Berlin’s prostitutes, beggars and grotesquely respectable citizens recalls the sharp-eyed satire of artists such as Grosz and Dix.

Lorre’s first major screen role was also his greatest - no monstrous caricature but a quietly credible psychopath who could easily be your next-door neighbour. The explosive revelation of his inner torment is one of cinema’s great set-pieces. Renowned for its striking imagery and inventive use of sound, M can now be enjoyed in a pin-sharp new restoration. For once, such words as ‘seminal’, ‘unmissable’ and ‘masterpiece’ are not just hype.

Margaret Deriaz

This new restoration of Fritz Lang’s M is released by the BFI to mark the 50th anniversary of Peter Lorre’s death.

Restoration by TLEFilms Film Restoration & Preservation Services (Berlin) in association with CNC - Archives francaises du film.

Venues

From 5 September
BFI Southbank

5 September
Curzon Mayfair

5-10 September
Rio Dalston

5-11 September
Irish Film Institute, Dublin

7-11 September
Glasgow Film Theatre

13-21 September
National Media Museum Bradford

14 September
New Park Chichester

21 September
Errol Flynn Filmhouse, Northampton

3-9 October
Cambridge Picturehouse

5 October
Stamford Arts Centre

17-20 October
Filmhouse Edinburgh

3-9 October
Cambridge Picturehouse

30 November and 3 December
Cornerhouse Manchester

7 December
Cambridge Arts Picturehouse

7 December
Regal Henley on Thames

7 December
Cameo Edinburgh

7 December
Ritzy Brixton

7 December
Phoenix Oxford

7 December
Abbeygate Bury St Edmund

7 December
Duke’s at Komedia Brighton

7 December
Cinema City Norwich

7 December
Clapham Picturehouse

7 December
Little Theatre Bath

7 December
Harbour Lights Southampton

7 December
Picturehouse at FACT Liverpool

7 December
Hackney Picturehouse

7 December
Exeter Picturehouse

7 December
City Screen York

7 December
Greenwich Picturehouse

7 December
Stratford East Picturehouse

Latest from the BFI

  • Latest from the BFI

    Latest news, features and opinion.

More information

Films, TV and people

  • Films, TV and people

    Film lists and highlights from BFI Player.

More information

Sight & Sound magazine

  • Sight & Sound magazine

    Reviews, interviews and features from the international film magazine.

More information

Back to the top