I have been enjoying the Film Noir course that TCM has set up and will be making some posts here to help me remember what I am learning.
Fritz Lang’s M is the first of the Daily Dose clips that was posted to illustrate the kinds of films that led to the Film Noir style.
Fritz Lang’s M
This is what Richard Edwards at TCM had to say about this film:
Watch the opening scene from Fritz Lang’s 1931 film, M. What do you notice in these early moments from M as you watch the action unfold in the context of film noir?
How is director Fritz Lang staging his characters, moving his camera, and controlling the lighting to establish a seemingly ordinary working class city neighborhood, albeit with an underpinning of dread and unease?
What seems wrong about this place? Do we have any warning signs of trouble to come?
What are some of the aspects of this scene that you feel are related to the film noir style?
In particular, while film noir is considered a very visual cinematic style, pay attention to M’s sound design.
Listen to how Lang is building up the film’s increasingly tense and unsettling mood and atmosphere by skillfully incorporating sounds originating from inside the film’s world (such as children’s voices, cuckoo clocks, church bells, and car horns).