MovieChat Forums > M (1951) Discussion > Just caught the 1951 version on TCM

Just caught the 1951 version on TCM


David Wayne was good but there will never be another Peter Lorre. Even with the subtitles, the original "M" was a masterpiece of cinematic criminality. Long live Fritz Lang!!!

reply

He was the only thing I thought was good. Despite an extraordinary supporting cast, the direction was abysmal. Most of the cast sat around with nothing to do. The crime organization was stupid. The ending incomprehensible. Terrible disappointment.

reply

[deleted]

bnwfilmbuff says > Despite an extraordinary supporting cast, the direction was abysmal. The ending incomprehensible. Terrible disappointment.
I can't agree on this point. I rather enjoyed the movie. I haven't seen the original, that some people seem to rave about, but I don't think that matters. Even if I had seen it I don't think it would matter. When I've seen both I may compare and contrast them but I still try to judge each movie I see on its own merits; not on the source material, be it a book, play, or movie, on which it's based.

Most of the cast sat around with nothing to do.
The way the story is told, the movie required a relatively large cast but, as you say, there wasn't really much for them to do. There were a lot of people in and around the city; the girls, their family members, and school mates; there were many mob members, etc. I don't think there was any way to avoid having so many actors in the movie. Since many of them had speaking roles, the role required more than just extras to fill the space. Also, while we may recognize some of these actors today, many of the 'extraordinary supporting cast' were, at this time, still early in their careers.

The crime organization was stupid.
I thought the mob going after the killer was an interesting part of the movie. I can see how their network would have a much easier time getting the creep than the police would. They did not have to act within the law and they had eyes and ears everywhere. Also, the premise made sense. If they claimed they were doing it for altruistic reasons I would have had a hard time believing it but their reason was purely selfish. The child killer was cramping their style and they wanted to get the goodwill of the public and perhaps even the police. Everyone wanted the child killer off the streets and would have been grateful to anyone who was able to find him.

The ending incomprehensible. Terrible disappointment.
I do agree about the end of the movie. I don't know why they did that. It was not in step with the remainder of the movie. I think it was an attempt to make sure the crime boss and his goons did not walk away without consequences for their own actions. Yes, they caught the guy but they were bad people too. They roughed up the guard and engineer on site and seriously damaged the building. The crime boss was hoping to get away with previous crimes and had every intention of resuming his criminal activities.


Woman, man! That's the way it should be Tarzan. [Tarzan and his mate]

reply

The ending of this film is probably the worst part of the movie. It was very...awkward. The best part of the ending was David Wayne's acting, which was spot-on.

~~~~~
Jim Hutton (1934-79) & Ellery Queen = 

reply

You mean TCM. I found the location photography very good, even atmospheric.

reply

Correct, it was a TCM premiere. The end credits had a card that specified that the film was restored in 2015. I'd love to see the film released on Blu-ray or DVD. There is some great cinematography that was filmed on location in the Bunker Hill neighborhood of LA.

reply

I wish Criterion would one day include this on its Blu-ray of the 1931 M. That Blu-ray already includes the 1932 English-language version of M, which features different actors, alternate takes and Peter Lorre's first performance in English.

reply

I think that both Peter Lorre and David Wayne were top-notch actors, and they were both well-suited for the leading roles in the two versions of the story.

By the way, Peter Lorre did some radio plays, which I've heard. I think he had a great voice for radio.

~~~~~
Jim Hutton (1934-79) & Ellery Queen = 

reply