Monster of the Day #52

Sometimes, ‘M’ is for monster.  The last of the truly great German horror films.  (And I remain tickled by its connection to the Mabuse –another ‘M’– series.)

  • TongoRad

    The opening segment is absolutely perfect, and it breaks my heart every time.

  • John Nowak

    One of the true greats. A lot of Lang’s work was decades ahead of its time — I insist that Spies was the first james Bond film.

    M is almost an early Hitchcock film. So much of the stress comes from “Nothing is happening, but it is about to.”

  • I think the scene with the Mom waiting for her kid to come home is one of the great sequences in any horror movie. And Tongo is right, it’s very much a perfect Hitchcock scene.

    Man, Lorre just nails it in that movie. One of the great performances every, I think.

  • Lorre was good in this, but he was super-creepy in ‘Mad Love’. Just over the top insane, drooling little wierdo.

  • Plissken79

    Peter Lorre was a one of a kind actor, from his brilliant performance in M to his sidekick role in 20,000 Leagues Under the Sea. Interesting that German directors were among the most important pioneers in film during its 20 years of existence, and then took about 15 years off due to the Nazis (and another 40 years off in the East due to the Communists)

  • KeithB

    Great movie. For a long time I could not get the theme he whistled out of my head.

    This is another movie that would only be destroyed in a re-make.

  • They actually did remake in it…the ’50s? I think. It was Americanized, and David Wayne (the Mad Hatter on the Adam West Batman show, and Inspector Queen on the Jim Hutton Ellery Queen series) played the Lorre role, as I remember.

  • “In the Hall of the Mountain King” from Peer Gynt. Great piece of music used to maximum effect here.

  • BeckoningChasm

    An absolute masterpiece.

    Lorre was almost always great, no matter the role. I saw an old noir with Mickey Rooney called “Quicksand.” It was a pretty mediocre film, lacking the relentless logic of the best noirs, but Lorre was excellent even though what he did made no sense.

    I wish we had more like him today.

  • Now that I think about it, I don’t think Beast with Five Fingers has ever hit DVD. Strange. You’d think it would have been included in one of the various DVD collections that have hit shelves the last few years.

  • Rock Baker

    I admit I haven’t seen this one yet, but I didn’t know it was a monster movie in the Monster of the Day sense, given that you were unsure if The Invisible Man was a propper fit. I think Cape Fear plays more like a monster movie than anything else, so can we expect to see Max Cady here someday?

  • BeckoningChasm

    The Lorre role here is so iconic, it’s referenced all over the place. (I remember a Ren & Stimpy show where they had R & S being babysat by a creepy old man who whistled the Grieg.) Max Cady (with either Robert), while scary, just isn’t that pervasive (IMHO) in our culture that the rules would bent that far. I mean, you could add Hans Gruber for all that.

    Of course, it’s Ken’s decision. I think Peter stretches the definition just a hair, but it kind of opens the door for Michael, Freddy, Jason et al.

  • Ericb

    I’d consider Freddy and Jason to be monsters. They are certainly not quite human anymore.

  • Rock Baker

    Well, you let in random psychos and you get a thousand more movie monsters: Norman Bates, Adolf Hitler, Ernst Blofeld, like half the characters Cagney played in the 30s. Max Cady was a true monster in a very real sense, but would (as Ken uses as his measuring stick) a 10 year old think of him that way?

  • sandra

    Fun fact: Lorre claimed to be unable to whistle – who can’t whistle, for goodness sake ? – so Fritz Lang dubbed him. That’s Lang’s whistle coming out of Lorre’s mouth.

  • Sandra, I’ve never been able to whistle to save my life.

  • Me, too, Ken. I could never actually “whistle”, in the musical sense. But I can make bird noises. Weird.

  • The Rev. D.D.

    Haven’t seen this movie but I want to.

    Can’t whistle.

    That is all.