Fritz Lang's M Film Analysis

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Fritz Lang’s M is a combination of a social film and a murder mystery—directed in 1931, in the midst of the Nazi movement’s takeover of German goverment, the film chronicles the public’s congregation to catch an infamous serial killer. Beckert, the child murder himself is presented to the audience several times throughout the film; he is shown to be involved with a constant internal struggle between allowing the darkest parts of his mind to overcome him and remaining sane. However, this film is, in some respects, making a statement less about murder and more about society at the time in which the film was released. More specifically, the film warns against and even mocks the competency and ability of the police to perform their jobs. There is a scene within the film involving an organization of beggars with the common goal of catching the child murderer. The beggars’ union makes the decision to roam the streets and constantly search for the criminal. Each beggar is accounted for by counting sausages—this scene is initially …show more content…

Toward the beginning, a meeting among the criminals is juxtaposed with a meeting among the policemen via an effective cross-cut scene. The audience hears tidbits of each group’s meetings immediately after another. The scenes themselves look similar—each group is settled at a table with a particular person in charge while cigarette smoke fills the air—and their conversations are nearly identical, with each group discussing the best methods to pursue the killer and how they cannot trust each other. Ultimately, it is the criminals who end up catching Beckert. This is another criticism the film makes regarding the police; the fact that justice was reliant upon criminals within society’s lowest echelon illustrates the idea that the law enforcement system in Germany at the time was ineffective and possibly even

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