An IMDb Top 250 movie

5 out of 5 snowstones

The death of the silent movie wasn't a universally positive thing. You'd be right to think that sound adds a whole new dimension to movies, but you'd be wrong to think that this did not go at some expense. The problem was that microphones in the day were not sophisticated enough to only record localized sound. Instead, they registered all sound in a wide radius --including the loud whirring of the camera, that nobody had ever bothered to make quiet. To solve this problem, cameras were almost always encased in a large soundproof booth that was impossible to move.
The result of all this was that the first 'talkies' (and the cheap later ones) were extremely static in their camera work, featured a lot of dialog and as such did not present much excitement for the viewer.
Which brings us to the happy exception to the rule: M, by master German director Fritz Lang. M works perfectly because it needs silence both for its eerie atmosphere (it's about a crime mob chasing a child killer) and to make dramatic panning shots that were mostly unheard of at the time. Long shots in absolute silence are in this case a bonus and not a flaw. Featuring a very young Peter Lorre, who was destined to play the creepy psychopath for the rest of his life, the story is beautifully shot, has great actors and a solid plot. Go see it.

Posted by cronopio at 02:14 PM, November 28, 2005