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Samm Deighan

Print publication date: 2019

Print ISBN-13: 9781911325772

Published to Liverpool Scholarship Online: February 2021

DOI: 10.3828/liverpool/9781911325772.001.0001

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PRINTED FROM LIVERPOOL SCHOLARSHIP ONLINE (www.liverpool.universitypressscholarship.com). (c) Copyright Liverpool University Press, 2022. All Rights Reserved. An individual user may print out a PDF of a single chapter of a monograph in LSO for personal use.date: 28 June 2022

In the Hall of the Mountain King

In the Hall of the Mountain King

(p.33) Chapter Two: In the Hall of the Mountain King

Samm Deighan

Liverpool University Press

This chapter explores the use of the murderer as protagonist, which is one of the themes that positions Fritz Lang's M as an important entry in early horror cinema. It compares M with Alfred Hitchcock's film The Lodger in 1927, which are radically different in their protagonists as Hitchcock keeps the identity of his killer a mystery, while Lang reveals his immediately. It also explores how Peter Lorre's portrayal of Hans Beckert not only shaped his career but went on to influence future sympathetic serial killer characters. The chapter discusses Beckert as the undeniable focus of the film and stands as a lone individual character in an essentially nameless mob. It describes Beckert's character as a sort of victimised antihero that is hunted and persecuted, while also serving as the vilest of antagonists.

Keywords:   Fritz Lang, M, protagonist, Peter Lorre, Hans Beckert, serial killer, victimised antihero, antagonist

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