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  • German: Dolby Digital Mono
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  • 1 Cast/crew biographies - Short Bio of Fritz Lang


Force Entertainment/Force Entertainment . R4 . COLOR . 110 mins . M15+ . PAL


In an ongoing quest to view as many of the old classics as possible, this was one film on my list that I was particularly looking forward to viewing. An antique of German cinema, M is a supremely haunting venture into the workings of a serial killer. It was director Fritz Lang’s first non silent film, and he presents an entirely disturbing view of his subject.

"The fire, the voices, the torment!"

The city of Berlin is being terrorised by a murderer who preys on children. The police put all their men onto the case, but no clues turn up as to who the killer is. The underground element of the city, due to loss of income from such a large police presence, attempt to get the man themselves. Lang uses some pioneering techniques in this film, such as a brilliant scene where he intercuts between the police and the mob, and it is striking how similar they are. Peter Lorre gives a remarkable performance as the compulsive child murderer who is unable to control his devilish impulses. The film has a dark and moody feel to it, and there are many smoke filled shadowy rooms where the action takes place.

The sympathy that Lorre is able to invoke for his character by the end of the film is staggering considering what he has done. The speech he delivers when he is being faced by the underground mobs at the end is truly masterful, and he brings amazing feeling to the scene. The suspense of this film is subtle, and works very well. M will appeal to people who enjoy seeing the roots of modern cinema, and anyone who is a fan of film noir will find it a rewarding investment.


The transfer is presented in an aspect ratio of 1.33:1.

Obviously due to the age of the film, the video is not going to be of great quality. 71 years have elapsed between the time of release and its transfer on to DVD, so allowances must be made for this. Thus, it is important to recognise that the problems associated with the video are largely related to the film itself, and not the transfer.

Shadow detail is one of the more troublesome areas of the transfer, with many faces becoming lost in the murky corners of rooms. The film jumps around the screen at times, and this can become annoying, particularly in the first half. Clarity is also somewhat of a problem, and it does vary to a great extent throughout. Whilst the MPEG and video artefacts are minimal, the most glaring of the problems concerns the film artefacts. Once again, one must take into account the age of the film when criticising this factor, and it was not surprising in the least to see such a display of scratches and dirt.

The black and white is overall somewhat dull, but this is also due to the age of the film.


The disc contains only one soundtrack, in German Dolby Digital 2.0, and of course it is in mono. The English subtitles on the film are permanently displayed. Background noise can become somewhat of a nuisance during the film, and there were also a few minor problems concerning audio drop out and distortion. This is again a result of the vintage of the soundtrack. One odd thing noticed are several prolonged periods of absolute silence. I can only assume that the audio was turned off for these scenes so as not to remove the audio hiss.

There was no musical score to the film.

Audio synch has some slight problems, which is to be expected for the reasons stated above.

The centre speaker does all the work for this soundtrack, so don’t expect an earth shattering experience sound-wise.


The only extra included on this DVD is a rather short biography of Fritz Lang.


A film that demands respect, M is a classic piece of cinema that demonstrates how a disturbing story and haunting themes can grab the audience and leave them with a whole new perspective on such matters. Even though it has been over 70 years since the film was released, it still holds an immense impact, and when compared to modern thrillers it easily holds its own.

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      And I quote...
    "The single most disturbing film of its era... genuinely haunting."
    - Robert Mack
      Review Equipment
    • DVD Player:
          Sony DVP-NS300
    • TV:
          Sony 68cm
    • Receiver:
          Sony STR-DE475
    • Speakers:
    • Centre Speaker:
    • Surrounds:
    • Subwoofer:
          Sony Active Superwoofer
    • Audio Cables:
          Standard RCA
    • Video Cables:
          standard s-video
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