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S E A R C H    D V D B e a v e r

(aka "M - Eine Stadt sucht einen Mörder" or "M. - Mörder unter uns" or "The Murderers Are Among Us" or "M - Your Murderer Looks At You))

http://www.dvdbeaver.com/film/direct-chair/lang.htm
Germany 1931

Of all Fritz Lang’s creations, none have been more innovative or influential than M, the film that launched German cinema into the sound era with stunning sophistication and mesmerising artistry. A spate of child killings has stricken a terrified Berlin. Peter Lorre gives a legendary performance as the murderer Hans Beckert, who soon finds himself chased by all levels of society. From cinema’s first serial killer hunt, Lang pulls back to encompass social tapestry, police procedural, and underworld conspiracies in an astonishingly multi-faceted and level-headed look at a deeply incendiary topic. One of the greatest psychological thrillers of all time, M remains as fresh and startling almost 80 years on. The Masters of Cinema Series is proud to present a stunning high-definition restoration of a definitive classic of world cinema.

Review found HERE at Masters of Cinema

 

******

 

A simple, haunting phrase whistled off-screen 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, 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. The Criterion Collection is proud to present a new restoration of this landmark film.

******

Austrian-born Fritz Lang made M in Germany where it premiered in May 1931 before being banned by the Nazis three years later. In 1940, parts of the film were appropriated by the Nazis in their propaganda film Der Ewige Jude (The Eternal Jew) contorting Peter Lorre's soulbaring performance for anti-Semitic ends. In retrospect, many believe M hastened Lang's departure from Germany in 1934. The Nazis were offended by the film's original title, Murderers Among Us, assuming it was about them and Lang had difficulty getting permission to make the film at the studios where it was eventually made in its entirety. 

Except from Nick Wrigley's detailed DVD review found HERE at Masters of Cinema

Posters

Theatrical Release: May 11th, 1931 Germany

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Comparison:

Masters of Cinema - Region 'B' - Blu-ray vs. Criterion - Region 'A' - Blu-ray vs. Universum (2 disc) - Region FREE - Blu-ray

 

1) Masters of Cinema - Region 'B' - Blu-ray - LEFT

2) Criterion Collection - Region 'A' - Blu-ray MIDDLE

3) Universum - Region FREE - Blu-ray RIGHT

DVD Box Covers
 

Distribution Eureka (Masters of Cinema) Spine # 9
Region 'B' -
Blu-ray

Criterion Collection - Spine #30 (re-issue) Region 'A'  - Blu-ray

Universum 80th Anniversary Edition
Region FREE -
Blu-ray
Runtime 1:50:39.674 1:49:45.620 1:51:26.096 (has about 2-minutes of intro screens)
Video

Disc Size: 44,622,296,684 bytes

Feature Size: 30,990,206,976 bytes

Average Bitrate: 29.97 Mbps

Dual-layered Blu-ray MPEG-4 AVC Video

Disc Size: 49,343,341,654 bytes

Feature Size: 22,927,300,608 bytes

Average Bitrate: 23.99 Mbps

Dual-layered Blu-ray MPEG-4 AVC Video

Disc Size: 37,406,601,638 bytes

Feature Size: 35,799,914,496 bytes

Average Bitrate: 36.00 Mbps

Dual-layered Blu-ray MPEG-4 AVC Video

Audio DTS-HD Master Audio English 1734 kbps 2.0 / 48 kHz / 1734 kbps / 16-bit (DTS Core: 2.0 / 48 kHz / 1509 kbps / 16-bit)
DTS-HD Master Audio English 1711 kbps 2.0 / 48 kHz / 1711 kbps / 16-bit (DTS Core: 2.0 / 48 kHz / 1509 kbps / 16-bit)
DTS-HD Master Audio German 1564 kbps 2.0 / 48 kHz / 1564 kbps / 16-bit (DTS Core: 2.0 / 48 kHz / 1509 kbps / 16-bit)
LPCM Audio German 1152 kbps 1.0 / 48 kHz / 1152 kbps / 24-bit
Dolby Digital Audio English 192 kbps 1.0 / 48 kHz / 192 kbps
DTS-HD Master Audio German 1593 kbps 2.0 / 48 kHz / 1593 kbps / 24-bit (DTS Core: 2.0 / 48 kHz / 768 kbps / 24-bit)
DTS-HD Master Audio German 1285 kbps 2.0 / 48 kHz / 1285 kbps / 24-bit (DTS Core: 2.0 / 48 kHz / 768 kbps / 24-bit)
DTS-HD Master Audio German 1580 kbps 2.0 / 48 kHz / 1580 kbps / 24-bit (DTS Core: 2.0 / 48 kHz / 768 kbps / 24-bit)
Subtitles English, and none English, and none German, English, and none
Features Release Information:
Studio: Eureka Video

 

Disc Size: 44,622,296,684 bytes

Feature Size: 30,990,206,976 bytes

Average Bitrate: 29.97 Mbps

Dual-layered Blu-ray MPEG-4 AVC Video


Edition Details:

• Two audio commentaries: one by German film scholars Anton Kaes and Eric Rentschler; the other featuring film restoration expert Martin Koerber, filmmaker Peter Bogdanovich, historian Torsten Kaiser and excerpts from Bogdanovich’s 1965 audio interviews with Lang
• The original 1932 British release version of M, presented in its entirety, recently rediscovered after 70 years, featuring different actors, alternate takes and Peter Lorre’s first performance in English (1:32:48)
Zum Beispiel Fritz Lang, a 1968 documentary with Fritz Lang discussing his career in German cinema (20:39)
• 48-page illustrated booklet, including writing by Fritz Lang, historian Robert Fischer, details of a missing scene, behind-the-scenes stills and production drawings

 

Blu-ray Release Date: February 22nd, 2010
Standard (thicker UK Blu-ray Case

Chapters 22

Release Information:
Studio: Criterion

 

Disc Size: 49,343,341,654 bytes

Feature Size: 22,927,300,608 bytes

Average Bitrate: 23.99 Mbps

Dual-layered Blu-ray MPEG-4 AVC

 

Edition Details:
•  Audio commentary by German film scholar Eric Rentschler, author of The Ministry of Illusion: Nazi Cinema and Its Afterlife, and Anton Kaes, author of the BFI Film Classics volume on M

The long-lost English-language version of M, from a nitrate print preserved by the British Film Institute
•  Conversation with Fritz Lang, an interview film by William Friedkin
•  Claude Chabrol’s M le Maudit, a short film inspired by M
•  Classroom tapes of M editor Paul Falkenberg discussing the film and its history
•  Interview with Harold Nebenzal, the son of M producer Seymour Nebenzal
•  A physical history of M
•  Stills gallery, with behind-the-scenes photos, and production sketches by art director Emil Hasler 
•  Plus: a booklet featuring an essay by film critic Stanley Kauffmann, a 1963 interview with Lang, and the script for a missing scene.


Blu-ray Release Date: May 11th, 2010
Transparent thick Blu-ray Case

Chapters 16

Release Information:
Studio: Universum

 

Disc Size: 37,406,601,638 bytes

Feature Size: 35,799,914,496 bytes

Average Bitrate: 36.00 Mbps

Dual-layered Blu-ray MPEG-4 AVC Video


Edition Details:

• Commentary (in German): Professor Elisabeth Lenk, Regina Sturickow, Torsten Kaiser
• 1960 Trailer (2:31 in 1080P)

 

DVD (Region FREE / PAL with German and English subtitles for some)
The Hunt For M (1:08:21)

"M" & The Hunt For The Film Elements (96 minutes)

Comparisons of the different versions (GB 1932, F 1932 Le " M" audit, the re-performance 1960 as well as the restoration with examples (before/afterwards) and optional audio commentary (50 minutes)

Background Featurette on the Film material and the restoration (11:54)

Interview with Erwin Leiser (43:30)

• Art gallery with 5 PDFs
• 60-page illustrated booklet, including a glossy replica of the original program, many photos and marketing promos, details on the restoration, sketches, and even a comic book version of the story (in German), original censorship maps with complete dialogue inclusive of possible cut scenes.

 

Blu-ray Release Date: May 20th, 2011
Custom Digi-book Blu-ray Case inside cardboard slipcase

Chapters 25

 

NOTE: The below Blu-ray captures were taken directly from the Blu-ray disc.

ADDED: Universum - Region FREE Blu-ray - June 2011: This is the German edition cited as being a 'further restoration' of Lang's masterpiece. It is also labeled as the 80th Anniversary edition. It comes in an amazing package - a magnificent Digi-book with 60 pages that include a glossy replica of the original program, many photos and marketing promos, details on the restoration, sketches, and even a comic book version of the story (in German).

It looks great. I'll make some general comments but the screen captures should speak to those who want to examine more in-depth. In many instances it is darker than the Criterion, but overall I think it falls between the first two Blu-ray editions in terms of contrast. Technically it is the best with the highest feature size and bitrate. It flickers the least and has the most limited noise. I don't discount Criterion's digital magic as their release is sharpest, but it certainly shows more damage in the form of light scratches and speckles. So there is a lot to appreciate about this 'further restoration'. I'm sure some will agree with me that it gives an amazing presentation - certainly different from the other two. Grain is sweet. What it will come down to is personal preference but I can certainly state that it has some attributes that are superior to the comparable Blu-rays. Once again this will depend on your system and its, and your, discerning level of visual quality.

Three key aspects of the restoration (as sent by Torsten Kaiser):

a) Almost all shots (except for 2, which we could not confirm 100% as being filmed with a fixed position camera) were stabilized - frame by frame and after detailed analysis to make sure we do not interfere in the original filming process - from inherent photochemical perforation damage jitter and inherent copying errors, presenting for the first time a (vastly more) stable image throughout (note that none of the panning shots were stabilized in order to preserve the accurate filmed image).

b) The film is now also more complete than on any other previous presentation since (its ban in) 1934. Much of the film's missing footage that was missing in various (mostly interrupted) sequences was found in a now preserved 35mm duplicate negative film element located in France. Most shots of "M" are now complete or almost complete. Both Criterion and Eureka (who bought the 2003 Criterion master, the same master was color re-timed in early 2010) are based on previous stages (in other words are not as complete).

c) The sound: the restoration soundtrack is representing exactly the intentions by Fritz Lang as clearly evident on the preserved Original Variable Density Negative. That means that the various sequences that are supposed to be absolutely silent now, for the first time ARE silent.  We were extremely careful to preserve the soundtracks technical integrity when we also reduced, not eliminated the inherent noise floor in the negative (see more in-depth information in my conversation with my very respected colleague Robert Harris HERE.
All the fine details of the sound track - for the first time presented in their true form without being filtered - are audible now. Still, we wanted to present the enormous challenge we faced so we included also the preservation soundtrack made in 2000/2001 as a another option. (Thanks Torsten!)

We get the option of two different scores both is lossless. They are comparable as DTS-HD Master 2.0 channel tracks at over 1200 kbps 2.0. Both sound great (sampled both) and I am thrilled that there are both English subtitles (mostly matching the other two editions) and that it is region FREE!

Extras are endless (advertised as 6 hours worth!) - firstly on the feature disc is an audio commentary that appears to be totally in German (although I did not listen in its entirety to check) with Professor Elisabeth Lenk, Regina Sturickow, and Torsten Kaiser. There is also a 2.5 minute trailer in 1080P. There is also a DVD included in the package that is crammed with info - some English subtitled (stated) or majority in English. Most importantly the The Hunt For M (1:08:21) and "M" & The Hunt For The Film Elements (96 minutes) are fascinating and fans will love the detail. There is more - comparisons of the different versions - GB 1932, F 1932 Le " M" audit, the re-performance 1960 as well as the restoration with examples (before/afterwards) with optional, German, commentary lasting about 50 minutes. There is a 12-minutes background featurette on the film material and the restoration (no English subs) and a 45 minute interview with Erwin Leiser (also no subs). The disc contains an Art gallery with 5 PDFs (again in German) and the impressive 60-page illustrated booklet.

Even without going under the microscope of our 1080X1920 screen capture - the differences were notable on my plasma - and I am of a positive mind on the disparity. Personally, I found it a big bonus to have this region free so I could play on my Oppo and that it has optional English subtitles. I think this is the most complete release and I already feel like watching it again. The extensive extras only bolster appreciation. This Universum is one of the best Blu-ray packages that I own. Period.   

***

ADDED: Criterion - Region 'A' Blu-ray - April 2010: Well, I don't have that much to add beyond what you can see from the screen captures. Criterion appear to have boosted black levels and while I, usually, prefer the more prominent blacks - I think I lean to the Masters of Cinema as the definitive release. They obviously come from the same source and I suspect MoC have done nothing to digitally alter the appearance - plus the UK edition has more file space devoted to the feature and, hence, a higher bitrate. Actually with the heightened blacks we may lose some information in the frame in a few rare sequences but hide a few scratches in others. It can also look a bit green to me. Grain may be more visible on the Masters of Cinema Blu-ray. - but again - this is dependant on the scene. Essentially though - this is probably all moot - as I would expect every consumer to be thrilled with either edition. It seems pointless to choose one over the other in this case - they are both magnificent packages which will undoubtedly garner many votes for Blu-ray of the year.

Audio is a wash with Criterion opting for a liner PCM rendering to MoC's minutely more robust DTS-Master. I didn't test enough to be able to distinguish any differences. Both offer optional English subtitles and if it makes the slightest concern I opt for the MoC subtitle font. The Criterion is Region 'A'-locked.

Extras are a personal preference. I'm not a fan of the inclusion of the 1932 English DUB'bed version - in 1080 - that both offer. It just seems to take up an inordinate amount of space on the disc (11 Gig on the Criterion). For those who appreciate commentaries - the MoC has two and Criterion repeats the first with German film scholar Eric Rentschler, author of The Ministry of Illusion: Nazi Cinema and Its Afterlife, and Anton Kaes, author of the BFI Film Classics volume on M. MoC's second with Peter Bogdanovich, historian Torsten Kaiser and excerpts from Bogdanovich’s 1965 audio interviews with Lang is definitely worth the spin. Criterion tack on some other featurettes - all duplicated from the DVD - and all in HD - and both have a magnificent liner notes booklet.

This is one of the top Blu-ray releases so far on the new format. I'm not going to isolate either edition as superior as they both represent essential value. The film still gives me 'the chills' after 10 viewings - no film from the 30's can make that claim (or 40's either). When this arrived in the mailbox - I had a friend/handyman over doing some odd-jobs and as I described the film to him he began to chuckle at my unbound enthusiasm. It's a singularly unique masterpiece and if you don't own one of these packages you will never be invited over to my house for a BBQ.   

 - Gary W. Tooze

***

 

ADDED: Masters of Cinema - Region 'B' Blu-ray - February 2010: The Masters of Cinema have come through yet again - first off the mark - with another time-honored cinephile classic to Blu-ray - Fritz Lang's "M". OMG. It looks magnificent on my system. Framed correctly in-and-around the 1.18:1 pillar-boxed aspect ratio - detail is incredible considering the age of the film. Contrast may be a small notch behind the "City Girl" Blu-ray but that would be my only minor issue with the package and I'm very glad there is no black level boosting - present on most of the DVD renditions. Grain is highly visible giving a wonderfully textured appearance. I can't add much more to the screen captures - especially the additional seven, at the very bottom of the page. It seems a bit of information is cropped from Eureka's 2003 DVD transfer, but it certainly didn't effect my viewing pleasure. This film is a visual feast and wonderful to own in high-definition. As the resolution increases - we've noticed in past reviews that speckles and light scratches, under the surface, also become a shade more prominent BUT this is an exceptionally clean appearance. 

Audio on "M" has always been a bit problematic but this new lossless DTS-HD Master (original German) 2.0 channel at 1564 kbps ads a distinct layer to the depth and clarity of the film's sound. It is a real improvement. One of the best touches to "M" though - is the silence - the many scenes where the actions create suspense by telling more of the story than the dialogue. It is more free of hiss, pops and audio glitches than I have heard before. This track is pretty sweet. Both commentaries are lossless as well. There are optional English subtitles and my Momitsu has identified The Masters of Cinema disc as being region 'B'-locked.

Supplements are quite serious as well - we get two audio commentaries. Previously found on the Criterion, recorded in 2004, by German film scholars Anton Kaes, author of The Ministry of Illusion: Nazi Cinema and Its Afterlife, and Anton Kaes, author of the BFI Film Classics volume on M . The other featuring film restoration expert Martin Koerber (supervisor of the 2001 restoration), filmmaker Peter Bogdanovich - author of Fritz Lang in America, historian Torsten Kaiser and substantial excerpts from Bogdanovich’s 1965 audio interviews with Lang - recorded in 2003 as found on the Eureka DVD from that year. As a keen curiosity we get the original 1932 British release version of M, presented in its entirety in HD, recently rediscovered after 70 years, featuring different actors, alternate takes and Peter Lorre’s first performance in English running 1:32:48. It's in pretty rough, un-restored condition with plenty of flickering contrast (see captures links below) but film students will find the alterations interesting, if adding nothing relevant to the film experience. We also get Zum Beispiel Fritz Lang ("For Example: Fritz Lang"), a 1968 documentary with Fritz Lang discussing his career in German cinema. It runs over 20-minutes with burned in English subtitles. Finally we gat a mammoth 48-page illustrated booklet, including writing by Fritz Lang, historian Robert Fischer, details of a missing scene, behind-the-scenes stills and production drawings.

Many who have region-free Blu-ray capability may wait for the upcoming, May 2010, region 'A'-locked Criterion release available for Pre-order HERE. We will, undoubtedly, compare but for those residing in Region 'B' - this is an easy endorsement and highly recommended purchase. Something about seeing these very old films in HD - is worryingly addictive. After "City Girl" - I craved more. Like a responsive 'pusher' - Masters of Cinema have responded. Please, Mr. Wrigley, may we have more? Buy now.     

 

 - Gary W. Tooze

 


Recommended Reading in Film Noir (CLICK COVERS or TITLES for more information)

 


DVD Menus

Criterion - Region 'A' -
Blu-ray LEFT vs. Masters of Cinema - Region 'B' -
Blu-ray
RIGHT

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English version (CLICK caps for 1080 resolution)

 

Universum - Region FREE - Blu-ray

 

DVD included with Universum - Region FREE - Blu-ray

 


 

CLICK EACH BLU-RAY CAPTURE TO SEE ALL IMAGES IN FULL 1920X1080 RESOLUTION

 

Subtitle Samples

 

1) Masters of Cinema - Region 'B' - Blu-ray - TOP

2) Criterion Collection - Region 'A' - Blu-ray MIDDLE

3) Universum - Region FREE - Blu-ray BOTTOM


Screen Captures

 

1) Masters of Cinema - Region 'B' - Blu-ray - TOP

2) Criterion Collection - Region 'A' - Blu-ray MIDDLE

3) Universum - Region FREE - Blu-ray BOTTOM

 

1) Masters of Cinema - Region 'B' - Blu-ray - TOP

2) Criterion Collection - Region 'A' - Blu-ray MIDDLE

3) Universum - Region FREE - Blu-ray BOTTOM


 

1) Masters of Cinema - Region 'B' - Blu-ray - TOP

2) Criterion Collection - Region 'A' - Blu-ray MIDDLE

3) Universum - Region FREE - Blu-ray BOTTOM


 

1) Masters of Cinema - Region 'B' - Blu-ray - TOP

2) Criterion Collection - Region 'A' - Blu-ray MIDDLE

3) Universum - Region FREE - Blu-ray BOTTOM

 

1) Masters of Cinema - Region 'B' - Blu-ray - TOP

2) Criterion Collection - Region 'A' - Blu-ray MIDDLE

3) Universum - Region FREE - Blu-ray BOTTOM

 

1) Masters of Cinema - Region 'B' - Blu-ray - TOP

2) Criterion Collection - Region 'A' - Blu-ray MIDDLE

3) Universum - Region FREE - Blu-ray BOTTOM

 

1) Masters of Cinema - Region 'B' - Blu-ray - TOP

2) Criterion Collection - Region 'A' - Blu-ray MIDDLE

3) Universum - Region FREE - Blu-ray BOTTOM

 

1) Masters of Cinema - Region 'B' - Blu-ray - TOP

2) Criterion Collection - Region 'A' - Blu-ray MIDDLE

3) Universum - Region FREE - Blu-ray BOTTOM

 

1) Masters of Cinema - Region 'B' - Blu-ray - TOP

2) Criterion Collection - Region 'A' - Blu-ray MIDDLE

3) Universum - Region FREE - Blu-ray BOTTOM

 

1) Masters of Cinema - Region 'B' - Blu-ray - TOP

2) Criterion Collection - Region 'A' - Blu-ray MIDDLE

3) Universum - Region FREE - Blu-ray BOTTOM

 

1) Masters of Cinema - Region 'B' - Blu-ray - TOP

2) Criterion Collection - Region 'A' - Blu-ray MIDDLE

3) Universum - Region FREE - Blu-ray BOTTOM


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Report Card:

 

Image:

Blu-rays 

Sound:

Blu-rays

Extras:

Universum Blu-ray

 

DVD Box Covers  
 

Distribution Eureka (Masters of Cinema) Spine # 9
Region 'B' -
Blu-ray

Criterion Collection - Spine #30 (re-issue) Region 'A'  - Blu-ray

Universum 80th Anniversary Edition
Region FREE -
Blu-ray



 

 

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