Precious Bodily Fluids

M

M6

Unfortunately, to call something “textbook” rings of negative criticism. So perhaps it’s better to say, in the case of M, that Fritz Lang wrote the (text)book on cinematic sound and editing. This has been one of those embarrassing still-haven’t-seen-it films until recently, and despite high expectations, M overwhelms and astonishes the viewer for its pitch-perfect use of audio, whether through sound or silence, to create feelings of unrest, panic, suspense, disgust, and terror. There is hardly a sound in this film that isn’t essential to its theme and narrative. The same can be said for its cross-cutting, using parallel storylines to great effect and equating both sides of the law and both sides of the law-abiding as paranoid and fundamentally disrespectful of true justice. Peter Lorre’s under-performance is refreshing in an age of super-villains. It makes one wonder how much more credit Christopher Nolan and co. would have gotten for editing The Dark Knight had Heath Ledger not stolen the show. Though there are plenty of nuances separating stage and screen acting, many of them are nuances of degree and not of kind. The practice of editing, however, knowing precisely when to cut and what to put after the cut, is distinctly cinematic and raises M to a level of cinema that must have made Andre Bazin and Sergei Eisenstein proud. It also must be pointed out that both in tone and actual story, Mel Brooks seems to have borrowed from this film for Young Frankenstein.

M1

The blind man sees

M2

Absent

M3

Cops...

M4

...and robbers

M5

Labeled

M7

About to pop

M8

"This won't bring our children back."

Advertisements
This entry was published on September 17, 2009 at 11:33 am. It’s filed under 1930s Cinema, German Film and tagged , , , , , , , , . Bookmark the permalink. Follow any comments here with the RSS feed for this post.

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s

%d bloggers like this: