Fritz Lang’s M
WASHINGTON FILM INSTITUTE
GOETHE-INSTITUT and MOLOTOV THEATRE GROUP
cordially invite you to a SCREENING of Fritz Lang’s “M” including a PANEL DISCUSSION with Jay Brock, Kerstin Gaddye, and Alex Zavistovich and a RECEPTION Following
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FRITZ LANG’S “M”
Directed by Fritz Lang
Written by Thea von Harbou, Fritz Lang, and Egon Jacobson
Starring: Peter Lorre, Hans Beckert, Ellen Widmann, Frau Beckmann, Inge Landgut, Elsie Beckmann
A simple, haunting musical phrase whistled offscreen tells us that a young girl will be killed. “Who Is the Murderer?” pleads a nearby placard as serial killer Hans Beckert (Peter Lorre) closes in on little Elsie Beckmann . . . In his harrowing masterwork “M”, 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.
“Few films are gripping and effective 82 years after their original release, but this one surely is.” –Kenneth Turan, Los Angeles Times
THURSDAY 3 APRIL 2014 @ 7PM
Panel Discussion / Introduction
Alex Zavistovich, President & Founder, Molotov Theatre Group
Kerstin Gaddy, Ph.D., Asst Dean of Undergraduate Programs, Catholic University
Moderated by Jay Brock, Clinical Assistant Professor, Catholic University, and Director of Molotov Theatre
Advance Ticket Required ($12):
Patrons interested in “M” may wish to see Molotov’s production of “Normal” during its March 2014 run: “Normal,” by Anthony Neilson, is the true-life story of Peter Kurten, the “Dusseldorf Ripper” of the 1920s and 1930s. Directed by Jay D. Brock with original score by composer Gregg Martin, “Normal” features Brian McDermott, Elizabeth Darby, and Alex Zavistovich. Thursdays through Sundays at 7:30 PM, March 6 through March 30, 2014 at the DC Arts Center in Adams Morgan, 2438 18th St. NW, Washington, DC 20009 (202) 462-7833. For further details: [adrotate banner=”71″]
ABOUT FRITZ LANG
One of the most renown and accomplished directors of the 20th century, Lang’s exceptional career began as scriptwriter for Joe May’s company where he met his future wife Thea von Harbou. Working with Erich Pommer as of 1917, Lang applied a style at once austere and lyrical to romantic, sentimental, sensationalist and fantastic story material: Der müde Tod (1921), Die Nibelungen (1921), Metropolis (1927), Spione (1928). Dr. Mabuse, der Spieler (1922, two parts) is notable for its attempt to represent psychological processes filmically; Metropolis, the futuristic tale of a repressive technocratic society, is renown for its special effects, its extravagant sets and even more extravagant budget, which caused financial difficulties for UFA, while M (1931) subverts the conventional detective thriller by developing a deep psychological portrait of a serial killer and child molester.
In 1933, Lang emigrated to France, and then on to the U.S., where he had the classic difficulties of a European director in the Hollywood studio system. Thus it took him several years of being idle before realizing his first project, Fury (1936), which met with both critical and popular success. While trying his hand at virtually every genre—including Westerns such as The Return of Frank James (1940), Western Union (1941), and Rancho Notorious (1952, with Marlene Dietrich), costume drama such as Moon Fleet (1955), and anti-Nazi films such as Hangmen Also Die (1943), Man Hunt (1941) Ministry of Fear (1944), and Cloak and Dagger (1946)—Lang’s most astounding achievements in Hollywood are in film noir. Scarlet Street (1947) and Secret Beyond the Door (1947), made for his own Diana Productions, are dark thrillers about the entanglement of love and murder; later famous noirs include The Blue Gardenia (1953), The Big Heat (1953), and Human Desire (1954). In 1956, Lang returned to Germany for the first time after the war; hired by producer Arthur Brauner, he directs a remake of Das indische Grabmal (1959) and Die tausend Augen des Dr. Mabuse (1960)—both of which fail miserably in their attempt to revive his earlier success, and a disappointed Lang returns to Beverly Hills.