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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

While the City Sleeps

While the City Sleeps

(p.69) Chapter Four: While the City Sleeps

Samm Deighan

Liverpool University Press

This chapter scrutinizes the city in Fritz Lang's M, which suggests that the city itself is a product of modernity and is somehow responsible for madness, moral evil, and the existence of a monster like Hans Beckert. It explores how M is also a film about a community in the grip of fear and paranoia in a way that subverts a more straightforward social drama. It also describes Lang's kangaroo court that represents a divided social strata that was essentially united only by violence. The chapter suggests that the kind of violence enacted by Beckert is not only the product of a diseased mind, but it is something anyone could be capable of. It analyses M film's production, in which Lang made use of the city of Berlin in a sort of proto-neorealist sense and employed non-professional actors from among the city's criminal class.

Keywords:   Fritz Lang, M, modernity, madness, moral evil, Hans Beckert, social drama, divided social strata, proto-neorealist

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