Fritz Lang's M (1931)
A killer of children, living and hiding undetected in the community, puts the nerves of the populace on edge. The law-abiding citizens demand action, fearing for the lives of any young girls who have the misfortune to be left unattended awaiting the exploitation of their naive trust of friendly strangers. The police, befuddled by their inability to catch the murderer, adopt harsh measures, conducting indiscriminate raids, hauling all the usual suspects into the station and disrupting the shady enterprises of petty criminals and street hustlers across the city. The killer himself, dissatisfied with the quality of attention that his crimes have generated from the official powers, engages in a letter-writing campaign to the local press, bent on both humiliating his pursuers and further terrorizing the victims of his irrational violence and inexplicable hatred. Exasperated by the futile efforts of law enforcement, the criminals themselves decide that it's time to rid the streets of this vile miscreant. Meanwhile, the sociopath's rage, temporarily subsided by his most recent atrocity, begins to build again as he walks the streets looking for his next opportunity to relieve the pressure that compels him to kill again.

Director: Fritz Lang
Cast: Peter Lorre, Ellen Widmann, Inge Landgut
Country: Germany
Genre: Crime, Drama, Mystery, Thriller

Fritz Lang's M (1931) Criterion Collection
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BD50 + 2xDVD | 1080p AVC, NTSC | 01:49:45 | 45.9 Gb + 14.7 Gb + 3% rec
Language: Deutsch
Subtitles: English

Extras:

Commentary - recorded exclusively for Criterion in 2004, this commentary features University of California at Berkeley professor Anton Kaes, author of the BFI Film Classics volume on M, and Harvard University professor of German Eric Rentschler, author of The Ministry of Illusion: Nazi Cinema and Its Afterlife. This is a fabulous audio commentary. The film analysis is exceptionally strong, allowing one to gain a clear picture of what Fritz Lang wanted to accomplish with M as well as the complex socio-political conditions in Germany at the time when the film was shot. I strongly recommend that you find the time to listen to the audio commentary.

Conversation with Fritz Lang - director William Friedkin sat with Fritz Lang over the course of two days in 1975 (the year before Lang died) to make this film, which combines artful photography with intimate conversation. Throughout the film Fritz Lang talks about the message of M, its production history, how the Nazis approached him to discuss the possibility of him shooting what would have been propaganda pieces for them, his meeting with Joseph Goebbels, etc. In English, not subtitled. (50 min, 1080i).

A Physical History of M - this documentary traces the "physical history" of Fritz Lang's M, from its production and original distribution to the digital restoration used as the basis for this edition. It includes a look at the French-language version of M but was produced before the discovery of the English-language version, which is also included on this disc. The documentary is very helpful in addressing specific edits the film underwent during the years (and notable differences between the French and German versions of the film). In French, German and English, with optional English subtitles. (26 min, 1080i).

Claude Chabrol's M le maudit - for the television program Cine parade, Claude Chabrol was asked to inaugurate a series of homages to classic cinema by contemporary directors. Chabrol - himself often a director of tense psychosexual thrillers, such as Le boucher and La ceremonie - chose the ur-thriller M. In this, short, a sort of M in ten minutes, Maurice Risch plays Peter Lorre playing Hans Beckert. The piece was originally aired in 1982. In French and German, with optional English subtitles. (11 min, 1080i). In addition to the film, there is also a short interview with Chabrol in which he recall his impressions after seeing M. In French, with optional English subtitles. (7 min, 1080i).

Harold Nebenzal interview - Harold Nebenzal, son of M producer Seymor Nebenzal, sat down with Criterion in August 2004 to discuss his father's pioneering independent company, Nero Films, producer of such films as M, Pandora's Box, The Testament of Dr. Mabuse, Westfront 1918, and The Threepenny Opera. Nebenzal himself worked on his father's 1951 Hollywood remake of M, as well as Cabaret, and is the creator of the award-winning novel Cafe Berlin. In English, not subtitled. (15 min, 1080i).

Paul Falkenberg's Classroom Tapes - in 1976 and 1977, M editor Paul Falkenberg was asked to address film studies classes at the New School in New York. Here, there are audio excerpts from the discussions between Falkenberg and the the students. In English, not subtitled. (37 min, 1080p).

Stills gallery - a collection of production stills, behind-the-scenes photos, and production sketches by art director Emil Hasler. Promo materials are also included.

English version (Blu-Ray only) - the English version of M, which was discovered in the BFI archives in 2005 by German film scholars Robert Fischer and Hans-Michael Bock. Not subtitled. (93 min, 1080i).

Fritz Lang's M (1931) Eureka! Masters of Cinema
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BD50 + 2xDVD | 1080p AVC, NTSC | 01:50:39 | 41.5 Gb + 11 Gb + 3% rec
Language: Deutsch
Subtitles: English

Extras:

Commentary - this is the same audio commentary that was recorded for Criterion in 2004, which also appears on their recent Blu-ray release of M. It features University of California at Berkeley professor Anton Kaes, author of the BFI Film Classics volume on M, and Harvard University professor of German Eric Rentschler, author of The Ministry of Illusion: Nazi Cinema and Its Afterlife. This is a fabulous audio commentary. The film analysis is exceptionally strong, allowing one to gain a clear picture of what Fritz Lang wanted to accomplish with M, as well as the complex socio-political conditions in Germany at the time when the film was shot. I strongly recommend that you find the time to listen to the audio commentary.

Commentary - a second audio commentary, which was recorded in 2003. It features Martin Koerber, the supervisor of the 2001 film restoration of M (from which this edition has been made), and Peter Bogdanovich, director and author of Fritz Lang in America. Substantial excepts from Bogdanovich's original 1965 interview recordings with Fritz Lang are included, and the commentary host is Torsten Kaiser. This is a strong commentary that offers a wealth of technical information, and specifically how certain scenes where shot, how they fit into the film, and what type of emotions they were meant to evoke, as well as historical information about the production history of the film. Lang's comments, in particular, are very interesting. In English.

English version - the English version of M, which was discovered in the BFI archives in 2005 by German film scholars Robert Fischer and Hans-Michael Bock. As noted by Eureka Entertainment on the actual disc, this is a damaged, unrestored print, with occasional water damage, tears and other defects, but is the best existing element. 1080p upscaled with an English DTS-HD Master Audio 2.0 track. (93 min).

Zum Beispiel: Fritz Lang - a documentary film made in 1968 by Erwin Leiser, featuring an interview with Fritz Lang on his work as a filmmaker. In German, with optional English subtitles. (21 min).

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