M is a German film directed by Fritz Lang, who is the name behind such films as Metropolis (1927) and The Testament of Doctor Mabuse (1933). Lang is not only a director but also a producer, writer and has been credited as an actor. He was very active in the film world between the late 1910’s all the way through to 1960. At one point in his life, Lang was offered the title of head of the cinema institute by Joseph Goebbel, the Nazi Propaganda Minister. Lang turned down this offer being very anti-Nazi and soon later fled to Paris and then America to be employed by MGM. The script writer behind the film M is Thea von Harbou who was married to Lang during this period. She was also the words behind the film Metropolis.
In Berlin, a child murderer is loose in the city and even with the intense pursuit of the case by the police, they cannot seem to find the murderer. The leader of the criminal gang decides to find the murderer before the police and to be sneaky and illusive they choose to ask the beggars to join them to find out who the murderer is. At this point the only person who without knowing has a faint idea of who the murderer is, is a blind man who sold the murderer a balloon. He recognises the whistle of the man and tips off another beggar who finds the whistling man and emblazons a M in chalk on his back. However at this point the police are on to Beckert, who we as the viewers know is the murderer, after tracing a postcard he wrote to the papers back to his apartment. However it is too late, the criminals and beggars have found Beckert and put him on “trial” in an abandoned distillery , Beckert pleads that he is ill and does not know what he is doing, that he can not help killing the children. After debate between the criminals and Beckert, they move forward to murder the murderer, however at this moment the police enter the old distillery. The film ends in Beckert being put on trial.
For me, M was the hardest film to get my head around. Because it was in German and subtitled, I felt more detached from the story unlike The Third Man and Double Indemnity. In both previous watching I felt they had a clear main character whilst this story was centred around two groups with one main goal. Although I think this film is a must see, I did not enjoy as much the way it was filmed and I did not think the scenes were as clear and well thought out as I have previously seen. I even felt some of the scenes too dark.
1. The Distillery Scene
Even though the entire film did not meet my visual expectations this did not stop me being inspired by the scene in the distillery. I loved the old abandoned feel and how the light seeps through the windows, it has a dusty feel and it looks spacious and almost dangerous. It feels as if something is here that should not be. I’d like to experiment with this feel and even though I am not sure of myself choosing it as a primary inspiration, I know I can draw a lot from my interest of the scene itself.
Key Words I have pulled out: Shadow, seeping light, dusty, spacious, empty, abandoned.
Source biography : http://www.imdb.com/name/nm0000485/bio?ref_=nm_ov_bio_sm