Year: 1931

Genre: Crime, Drama, Thriller

Duration: 117 mins

Starring: Peter Lorre, Ellen Widmann, Inge Landgut, Otto Wernicke, Theodor Loos, Gustaf Gråündgens, Friedrich Gna•Ââ, Fritz Odemar, Paul Kemp, Theo Lingen, Gerhard Bienert

Director: Fritz Lang

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 desparate, 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. Renonwned for its striking imagery and inventive use of sound, M can now be enjoyed in a pin-sharp new restoration.