Fritz Lang’s ‘M’ (Region 0 - PAL/Eureka Video)
B- Sound: B- Extras:
B+ Film: A
PLEASE NOTE: Since the issuing of this DVD
import edition, this film has now been issued on Blu-ray in a better edition by
Criterion and you can read more about it at this link:
here is Eureka!
Video’s European release of Fritz Lang’s ‘M’.
An important film for several reasons, it’s influence stretches on even today,
as modern films are still pockmarked with inspiration culled from this
feature. To start with, it was Lang’s first foray into dabbling with
sound in his films - up to this point, they’d all been silent affairs. It
was also the film that set Peter Lorre up for larger fame; and although he
already had a few credits to his name, none carried nearly the profile that
this film boasted, and certainly none have remained as important as this.
However, this knowledge is fairly common; and historical facts aside, the
biggest question this review hopes to answer is if Eureka’s edition of the film
comes out mightier than what the Criterion Collection has mustered up for their
release. So, I’ll put most of my opinions on the movie itself aside for
now and perhaps deal with them in another article.
bare-bones outline of the movie is as follows. A child murderer is
quietly picking off the young residents of a German town, with no witness of
the events to speak of. The police are unable to find this criminal -
leading the man’s fellow criminals to hunt him down and hold him under a mock
trial before handing out his fate for being the lowest of possible lows, even
in their hardened eyes. The way the entire movie is shot is beautifully
done, and to see the end sequence is always riveting, no matter how many times
the movie has happened to pass before your retinas.
quality here is good, and while I don’t believe it to be perfect, it really
beats out the earlier Criterion edition of the film, as this one pulls off a
lot of improvements in general clarity and tone. Eventually Criterion
reissued ‘M’ with even further
improved picture quality that seems to have won out over all current editions
of the film. Some have noted that even the reissued Criterion has a
rather cropped image in certain spots, and a quick peek at the comparison over
at DVDBeaver.com yields this to be fact, and you can clearly see that the
Eureka! disc sports a somewhat substantially larger view of the film. That now includes the slightly lighter Eureka! Blu-ray Region B
big complaint here is one that may be viewed upon with disdain from film
purists, but I’ll say it anyway, as I believe others might be equally put off
as well. It is simply that I’m not a big fan of the effect you get on
older TVs when a program incorporates a windowboxed image. It’s true that
you do lose a bit of the image on some or all sides of the picture when a movie
is framed to utilize the full allotment of the screen. However,
windowboxing can also create a distracting effect that seems to distort the
image even further around the edges when viewed on sets with rounded picture
tubes. If you have a newer flat-screen TV, you shouldn’t have any distortion,
but for those of us with older sets, it does create a mild problem. There
are a large number of people that will love this disc even more because of the
chosen framing method, so it all comes down to personal preference.
that there is pretty much a tie for this movie when it comes to sound.
Both the Criterion and Eureka!
discs are monophonic, but the Eureka!
version is Dolby Digital 2.0 Mono, while the Criterion is Dolby 1.0 Mono. The
audio track is serviceable though, and should get the job done - even though
the 2.0 Mono is somewhat better.
extras, you’ll find a substantial cluster of them here, including a full-length
audio commentary track, interviews, and a documentary. I don’t believe
that there is any overlap of bonus content between this edition and the
Criterion, and if there is any, it includes none of the prominent features of
either disc. Film buffs who want all the info, covering all the angles of
such an important film might consider it necessary to see both editions of the
movie just to absorb all that they can from each.
opinion, a viewing of the reissued Criterion edition might be necessary, but
due to certain flaws like the rather cropped image, I’m not sure I’d fully
recommend it for a purchase. I don’t think it can ever be completely
ruled out though, as it does appear to be an excellent presentation of the film
as well. If you’re able to play imports, going for the Eureka! edition would be a wise choice, as
everything is very well done here, and there’s no arguing against that.