Featured in the film is a Robot referred to as the Maschinenmensch. Pictured here with her inventor, the evil scientist Rotwang, it is disguised to look like a real woman and is sent among the enslaved workers of Metropolis to incite riots and violence.
The robot is sleekly designed and futuristic nearly 85 years later. All science fiction fans recognize this iconic image.
'M' is Fritz Lang's first sound movie. Made in Germany in 1931 it starred Peter Lorre in his first film role as the 'Kinder Mörderer', the Child Murderer, a serial killer who preys on children. By extension I guess that meant he was a pedophile.
This idea of the underground criminal society shows up in later Lang films and is echoed the spy films of the 60's. James Bond's super criminal nemesis 'Specter' is inspired by this.
Once in Hollywood, Lang worked chiefly in genre films notably Film Noir. While The City Sleeps, 1956, is one example of Lang's output. The visual style is a little flatter due to budget but the film is still preoccupied with crime, and in this case, the effect of a serial killer on a city and the staff of a newspaper trying to guess his identity.
The cast includes Dana Andrews, Thomas Mitchell, George Sanders, Vincent Price, and Ida Lupino! Time Out called this Lang's most underrated film.
Many Hollywood stars had the opportunity to work with Lang. Not all of them liked the experience. Henry Fonda recalled hating Lang for making Gene Tierney cry on the set of 'Return of Frank James'.
This is a picture of Lang with Joan Bennett.
Bennett and husband Walter Wanger formed a production company with Lang and she appeared in 4 of his films. Remember Joan from the tv show 'Dark Shadows'?
Lang, the Hollywood studio professional, made Westerns, too! What does a German emigre know about the American West? When Lang came to America, he was fascinated by American Culture. Friends and colleagues remember how his speech was always peppered with the latest American slang.
Rancho Notorious is a 1952 western starring Marlene Dietrich, Arthur Kennedy, and Mel Ferrer. In it Marlene ran a criminal hideaway called Chuck-A-Luck and Arthur and Mel vie for her attention.
A Lang western could feature beautiful vistas. Contrasting Lang with a director like John Ford, a Lang film might also take place in little, shadowy, claustrophobic cabins and play up the hoof beats and gunfire more than celebrating pioneer virtues.
If you'd like to learn more about Fritz Lang, then check his wiki page. You might also try to find a copy of 'Fritz Lang in America' by Peter Bogdanovich which is the transcript of several interviews with Lang.
We had a great time on Sunday at the Film Forum.
Jim, right in the picture, went to the movie with me and I guess we look a little bleary after sitting through the 2.5 hour opus.
Bobby, center, did not attend the showing. He just looks like that normally.