The Best Old Movies on a Big Screen This Week: NYC Repertory Cinema Picks, July 8-14

07/08/2015 7:28 AM |

m lang lorre

M (1931)
Directed by Fritz Lang
A classic tale of catechizing human virtue in pre-Nazi Germany, Lang’s first talkie keeps us terrorized with onscreen dialogue and asynchronous off-screen sounds. The adumbral opening is flawless Expressionism—menacing cuckoos, leering abandonment and the awakening of sheer terror within one silhouette. Peter Lorre’s virtuoso performance as multidimensional psychopathic killer Hans Beckert proves him to be a master—he is corpulent; his whistling of “In the Hall of the Mountain King” beleaguers the conscience and the heart. One cannot help but sympathize with Beckert, even in the face of his treacherous crimes against children—he is hunted and lynched like a rabid dog by the Law, the Beggars, the Public and the Criminals. Lang’s formalist masterpiece is inimitable. Samantha Vacca (July 12, 2:20pm, 6:20pm at Film Forum’s “True Crime”)