Made in 1931, this German language film is often considered the masterwork of German expressionist turned Hollywood-noir director Fritz Lang. Basically creating the template for the psychological-thriller genre, the story centers on child-killer Hans Beckert as the police and the criminal underground close in around him and reveals an intense paranoia in both the public and in the killer himself. The film, perhaps more so than any since, gives the viewer a disturbingly real feel for the killer's lack of control and, at the same time, speaks volumes about the brutal mentality and motivations of the society Lang was witnessing at the dawn of Nazism. Both a social commentary and frighteningly personal, Lang's masterpiece is the apex of the dark, unnerving German expressionist style that came to leave a permanent imprint on the craft of cinema.
"A simple, haunting phrase whistled off-screen tells us that a young girl will be killed. Who is the murderer? pleads a nearby placard as serial killer Hans Beckert (Lorre) closes in on little Elsie Beckmann...In his harrowing masterwork, Fritz Lang merges trenchant social commentary with chilling suspense, creating a panorama of private madness and public hysteria that to this day remains the blueprint for the psychological thriller. The Criterion Collection is proud to present a new restoration of this landmark film. In German with optional English subtitles."
Fritz Lang, Hertha von Walther, Hans Behal, Hugo Doblin, Ernst Paul Hempel, Ernst Wulf, Gustaf Gründgens, Albert Karchow, Mascheck, Robert Hartberg, Inge Landgut, Werner Kepich, Karl Elzer, Gunther Hadank, Wolf Trutz, Isenta, Else Ehser, Heinrich Gotho, Karl Heinz Stroux, Fritz Odemar, Rosa Lichenstein, Hadrian M. Netto, Reihsig, Bruno Zeiner, Ernst Stahl-Nachbaur, Rudolf Blumner, Josef Almas, Ilse Furstenberg, Max Sablotski, Peter Lorre, Georg John, Gunther Neumann, Paul Mederow, Oscar Hocker, Otto Waldis, Kurth, Margarete Melzer, Rebane, Swinborne, Gerhardt Bienert, Lotte Lobinger, Sigurd Lohde, Nied, Agnes Schulz-Lichterfeld, Otto Wernicke, Leonard Steckel, Alfred Loretto, Anna Goltz, Maja Norden, Ellen Widmann, Edgar Pauly, Matthis, Franz Polland, Albert Hoermann, Karl Platen, J.A. Eckhoff, Klaus Pohl, Hans Ritter, Heinrich Gretler, Carell, Goldstein, Alexander Sascha, Josef Damen, Paul Kemp, Friedrich Gnass, Carl Balthaus, Gelingk, Rolf Wanka, Theodor Loos, Rosa Valetti, Hermann Krehan, Erwin Faber, Rhaden, Borwin Walth, Theo Lingen, Leeser, Trude Moss, Paul Rehkopf, Gelin Wannemann, Paul Falkenberg, Adolf Jansen, Karl Vash, Thea von Harbou, Fritz Lang