Film Analysis: Fritz Lang's 'M'

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M Fritz Lang's 1931 film M takes a look how one German town comes together to take down a prolific child serial killer. The film is interesting in theme, narrative, and editing and is a standout film in Germany's cinematic history. M can also be considered to be one of the last great German films to come out of the country before Hitler took over the German film industry in 1933 (Mast & Kawin 148). M is also Peter Lorre's first film and his performance helped to catapult him as an actor and allowed him to establish a villainous persona that he would later be known for. M is not only a significant film due to its narrative and editing, but it is also significant because of its style. Stylistically, M appears to be a continuation of the style that was established in cinema through the German Expressionist movement and developed through the Kammerspielfilm, which focused on the actors, lighting, and set design to further investigate the psychological foundations of characters in middle and lower-class environments (150). M can be considered to be part of the third type of film that was produced during the Weimar period that is known as die neue Sachlichkeit (New Objectivity), which portrays "fatalistic and grimy lower-class realism" through the cinematic lens (150). M is able to marry characteristics found in each of these three periods of German cinema. Like German Expressionist cinema, Lang is able to create something that may appear to be innocent at the surface and

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