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M review

The sound of Fritz

Made in 1931, Fritz Lang’s first sound film was entitled Murderers Among Us . The Nazis furiously objected, thinking themselves targeted, but calmed down on learning it was about a deranged child-killer. Still, it’s subversive enough and Lang’s use of subjective sound is unsettling.

As the killer, Peter Lorre is a pudgy, pop-eyed figure, at once repellent and pitiable, in the grip of a compulsion he can’t control. He’s hunted down by the underworld, not because they’re repelled by what he does – but because it’s bad for business. Extraordinary and shocking – still.

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