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'M' to screen March 4-7

RELEASED: Feb. 23, 2010

poster for MEAU CLAIRE — Fritz Lang's "M" (Germany 1931) will screen March 4-7 at the University of Wisconsin-Eau Claire. The International Film Society will present the film at 6 and 8:30 p.m. in Davies Theatre.

The harrowing masterwork of private madness and public hysteria stars Peter Lorre as a serial killer who is terrorizing Berlin. The police conduct an investigation that so disrupts the city's underworld that the criminals organize their own search for the murderer.

"The screenplay by Thea von Harbou, then Lang's wife, deals with a serial killer of children terrorizing Berlin," wrote film critic Stanley Kauffmann. "But this is not a mystery story: We know virtually from the beginning who the criminal is. We see him writing to the press, begging to be caught. The suspense is in the effect of this murderer and his murders on the structure of a large city — how two kinds of order are galvanized by the murderer's disorder."

Pauline Kael wrote that "'M' has visual excitement, pace, brilliance of surface, and feeling for detail. Above all it has, caught in a manhunt, a small, fat man, sweating in his uncomfortable clothes: the sexual psychopath who murders little girls — interpreted by Peter Lorre with a spark of genius."

The International Film Society will screen the Criterion Collection restoration of "M," presented in its original aspect ratio of 1.19:1, in German with English subtitles. Lang's first sound film, the 110-minute drama is not rated.

Admission is free at the door with a Blugold Card or International Film Society membership. Community members who wish to attend campus films must purchase an annual IFS membership at the Service Center (715-836-3727) in Davies Center's east lobby. An individual membership costs $4; a family membership costs $10.

More information about the campus film series is available online and at the Activities and Programs office, Davies Center 133.

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JS/DW

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