Bil’s rating (out of 5): BBBBB. Germany, 1931. Nero-Film AG. Screenplay by Thea von Harbou, Fritz Lang, based on an article by Egon Jacobson. Cinematography by Fritz Arno Wagner. Produced by Seymour Nebenzal. Production Design by Emil Hasler, Karl Vollbrecht. Film Editing by Paul Falkenberg.
Early film noir is considered the most important step in German expressionist cinema. Directed by the incomparable Fritz Lang, the film tells the tale of a serial killer (Peter Lorre) with a predilection for murdering small children. Its sympathetic look at the weakness and insecurity that leads an individual towards the most horrible acts is still pointed out as being a keystone in film storytelling, particularly as the story is told from the bad guy’s point of view. Innovative camera work and haunting photography is a plus, but beware of badly edited, badly copied prints that are out there; they’ll ruin the whole experience for you.