Print this post Print this post

An “M” of Our Own:
Creating an Aryan Version of Fritz Lang’s Masterpiece

LoseyM3,320 words

M (1951)
Directed by Joseph Losey
Produced by Seymour Nebenzal
Writing Credits (in alphabetical order): Leo Katcher (scenario revisions); Fritz Lang (scenario) (uncredited); Norman Reilly Raine (scenario revisions); Waldo Salt (additional dialogue) Thea von Harbou (scenario) (uncredited)
Cast: David Wayne (Martin W. Harrow); Howard Da Silva (Inspector Carney); Steve Brodie (Lt. Becker); Raymond Burr (Pottsy); Norman Lloyd (Sutro); Jim Backus (The Mayor)
88 minutes; black and white

As with The Strange One, Turner Classic Movies has once again given me the chance to view a rarely-seen classic of ‘50s black-and-white Hollywood: the 1951 “remake” of Fritz Lang’s 1931 M.

In “Kafka, Our Folk Comrade,” I highlighted the latest literary research showing that, as Margot Metroland so succinctly puts it, “Franz Kafka was no doomed, obsessed prophet of the Holocaust, but rather a millionaire slacker whose ‘horror’ stories were written as absurdist satires.”[1]

Another prominent figure of that impossibly over-rated period (when “hated by the Nazis” meant “genius”) is Fritz Lang, a somewhat equivocal figure as far as “echoing” goes. He did, after all, direct the epic Nibelungen films, but “in exile” Lang was quick to offload any hints of “Nazi” tropes here and elsewhere onto his collaborator, Thea von Harbou (apparently an enthusiastic Hitlerite).

M is a good example, at least as Lang told the story (like most “survivors” his stories tended to be unverifiable, self-serving, and changeable). Shortly after the premiere, Lang was summoned to the offices of Dr. Goebbels himself. Lang was terrified that the National Socialists had figured out (he says) that the movie (originally titled Murderers Among Us) was a veiled attack on the party’s rise to power. Instead, Goebbels praised the film, which he saw as an allegory of the breakdown of order under the Weimar government, and the necessity of the people taking power back into their own hands. He then (Lang says) offered Lang the leadership of the German film industry. Lang then went home, packed his bags, and headed for Paris and, eventually, Hollywood.

True or not, the story illustrates a point we’ve frequently made: being a collaborative medium, film, more than any other art form, is likely to escape the intentions of its “auteur” and take on a life of its own.

Again, take M. Not only did Goebbels derive a party-friendly reading of it, but Lang’s clear intention — to create a sympathetic portrait of a child-murderer — was subverted by the party incorporating Peter Lorre’s famous trail scene — ”explaining” his obsessions and begging for mercy — into Fritz Hippler’s 1940 propaganda classic The Eternal Jew, as an example of both Jewish support for degeneracy as well as Jewish hysterical mannerisms.

Lang must have thought he was truly cursed when, after the war, his fellow “refugee” (“My God, they tried to make me run the film industry, the monsters!”) Seymour Nebenzal, the producer of M, popped up in Hollywood. Nebenzal asserted that he still held the rights, and, wanting to polish up his stateside resume, proposed a remake. Lang was outraged, but having divorced von Harbou,[2] no screen credit, and the papers proving his ownership having been “lost in the war” (as per usual), Nebenzal simply got von Harbou’s OK and proceeded along. Lang briefly agreed then refused to direct it, so Nebenzal offered the role to a neophyte with two movies under his belt, Joseph Losey. Losey also refused, but “after looking at his bank account” (according to TCM’s Robert Osborne) decided to go ahead.

It’s hard to say exactly what M51, as I’ll call it, is, vis-à-vis M31. It’s not really a “remake,” like the three versions Warner’s made of The Maltese Falcon;[3] nor is it really a frame by frame “reshooting” like Gus Van Sants’ pointless Psycho (although we’ll have reason to revisit the original in what follows).

The Bond films — as is appropriate, when dealing with the creator of Dr. Mabuse, as well as a very different “M”! — offer several not quite exact parallels. The ownership dispute recalls Kevin McClory’s claim to the Thunderball scenario and the Blofeld character, although the subsequent “remake”– Never Say Never Again — reverses the relation of M51 to M31, respectively.[4] It’s not a rip-off, using a Lorre lookalike along with some of the original actors, but avoiding the same character names, like Operation Kid Brother (a.k.a. Operation Double 007, a.k.a. OK Connery, where Sean’s brother takes the place of “your, um, brother”). It’s not a spoof, as when Columbia Pictures (the company that produced M51) reasserted its rights to the first book, Casino Royale, and made the dreadful 1967 version.

Speaking of which, the Daniel Craig version suggest this is a “reboot” of M31, like the Christopher Nolan Batman films. Very close, but each of these tries to consciously avoid anything that visually recalls the earlier films, and here Losey is hewing very close to the original, either out of piety or uncertainty, or perhaps fear. A reviewer says:

Watching the remake, I was struck by how humbly Losey bows to the shot sequence of the original. In the original M’s famous opening, a mother in her kitchen glances at the wall clock; meanwhile her little daughter wanders home from school alone. The girl bounces a ball as she walks, and a nice man, his face unseen, befriends her, buying her a balloon from a blind street vendor. Growing fearful, the mother calls down the stairwell, turned into a vortex by a camera shooting straight downward. Medium shots show the little girl’s empty place setting at the kitchen table, and the abandoned ball rolling to a halt; a long shot reveals the balloon caught in the telephone wires. Losey copies this entire sequence; there are some minor adjustments (he inserts a shot looking back up the stairwell at the mother, and reverses the order of the rolling ball and drifting balloon), but they only remind you how beautifully conceived the original was.[5]

For a closer analogue, I think we need to look at one of Lang’s own films. In the early days of cinema, it was not unusual to avoid dubbing or subtitling by making entirely separate films for two or perhaps more major markets, shooting them simultaneously, using a different cast of native actors and perhaps another director.

It’s an intriguing idea; by using not just dubbing but actual native actors, the market gets the story recreated by their own people, almost cargo cult-like.

Needless to say, these are not “exact” copies; [6] necessarily, slight differences in shots and especially editing occur, deliberately or not.

Thus, Lang shot parallel versions of The Testament of Dr. Mabuse, one in German, one in French, using the same sets, but different actors.[7] An even better example would be Dracula (also 1931!), or rather, the legendary “Spanish Dracula,” shot at night on the same sets by another director, George Melford. Here again, the resulting “alternate take” — as would be the case with sound recordings — is fascinatingly different:

Of the cast, only Carlos Villarías (playing Dracula) was permitted to see rushes of the English-language film starring Bela Lugosi and was encouraged to imitate the other man’s performance. As well, some long shots of Lugosi as the Count as well as some alternate takes from the English version were used in this production.[8]

The tradition continues in television, especially between US and Latin America; thus Betty la Fea becomes Ugly Betty, and Breaking Bad becomes Metastasis. Indeed, the Counter-Currents fav[9] provides the closest parallel yet:

You seem to be watching the opening minutes of the first episode of “Breaking Bad,” but you notice a few differences. The vehicle full of drug-lab paraphernalia and dangerous fumes is not an RV; it’s a decrepit school bus. When the driver staggers out for a breath of fresh air, he puts his shirt on so that he can play the rest of the scene semi-modestly. And when he picks up a video camera to record what he thinks will be his last testament, he doesn’t say, “My name is Walter Hartwell White.” He says, Mi nombre es Walter Blanco.

“Metastasis,” shot in the high desert in Colombia, is an episode-for-episode, practically shot-for-shot remake, done with considerably less time and money than were spent on the American original. On television, where it plays every weeknight, the telenovela  —  which encompasses the entire story line of five seasons of “Breaking Bad”  —  will play out in about three months.[10]

And here’s our Fritz Lang:

“They did all the 62 episodes we did, but made them much faster, on a smaller budget,” says Bad creator Vince Gilligan, who had “zero” input in the adaptation but experienced a “slightly disorienting feeling of déjà vu” watching the first episode. “It simultaneously inspires me and makes me feel a little sheepish that we took as much money and shooting hours as we did.”[11]

And perhaps, apart from making it cheaper, quicker, and easier for the viewer to binge-watch, it’s also better than the original? Consider “Spanish Dracula” again:

In recent years, this version has become more highly praised by some than the better known English-language version. The Spanish crew had the advantage of watching the English dailies when they came in for the evening, and they would figure out better camera angles and more effective use of lighting in an attempt to “top” it. As a result, this version’s supporters consider it to be much more artistically effective. The Spanish semiologist Roman Gubern considers that the longer duration allows better development of the plot in spite of the shortened shooting time and smaller budget.

Speaking of Dracula recalls a final parallel, with a famous incident from the beginnings of the German film industry: F. W. Murnau’s Nosferatu.

The film, shot in 1921 and released in 1922, was an unauthorized adaptation of Bram Stoker’s Dracula, with names and other details changed because the studio could not obtain the rights to the novel (for instance, “vampire” became “Nosferatu” and “Count Dracula” became “Count Orlok”). Stoker’s heirs sued over the adaptation, and a court ruling ordered that all copies of the film be destroyed. However, a few prints of Nosferatu survived, and the film came to be regarded as an influential masterpiece of cinema. As of 2015, it is Rotten Tomatoes’ second best-reviewed horror film of all time.[12]

Here we see a sort of reversal of the M51 situation: there the first director fails to get the widow to assert his supposed ownership, while she strikes a deal with the new director, who never the less does make some changes. It’s time to look at those changes, and indeed “reversal” is the recurring theme.

The most noticeable is that the story has been moved forward in time, to 1951, and westward in place, to Los Angeles — “go West” will be the nature of most of the reversals. This is all done implicitly; there are no sly winks back to M31 or other “fan service.”[13]

Nebenzal thought the story still worked because America had all sorts of isolated psychotics running around; in fact, the inner world conjured up by Losey and David Wayne feels less like the original M than it does the sun-washed nightmare of Psycho.

For example, these shots, impossible to film in Berlin even if Lang had tried:

A montage of the killer approaching various girls (one black and another Asian, reminding us where we are and how the lower classes are preyed upon) ends with him staring out into the blue horizon of the Pacific Ocean. A marvelously composed frame shows him getting a shoeshine before a picture window that overlooks an impossibly wide city street. Later the killer sprawls out on a park bench playing his creepy tin whistle, behind him a panoramic view of a main thoroughfare stretching back to the horizon.

All the landmarks of the soon-to-be razed Bunker Hill section are there, including the funicular railway, Angel’s Flight. We’ve explored this territory before, and sure enough, down in the credits, there he is — assistant director, Robert Aldrich!

Yes, M51 brings us back to the creepy, sunny apocalyptic landscape that Aldrich would explore/exploit four years later in Kiss Me Deadly.[14]

On the other hand, M51 lacks any notable cinematography, neither the shadowy Expressionism of M31 nor the blinding chrome and neon lighting of KSD that create their culturally appropriate visions of post-Apocalyptic Hells. Surprisingly, it’s by Ernest Laszlo, who also did KMD! [15] Neither my Portuguese bootleg DVD nor the “restored” version shown by TCM display any more than competent Hollywood camera work, like the element of professionalism William Thompson consistently brought to Ed Woods’ oeuvre.[16]

Moving on. Of course, Peter Lorre is gone. Apart from any idea of approaching him, or his lack of interest, Lorre simply was no longer suitable, having, during his Hollywood “exile” (“Oh, my God, they’re forcing me to make millions dollars!”), moved, willingly or not, from effectively scary guy to funny little weirdo.[17] Yes, he’s “gone West” too.[18]

Taking his place is David Wayne, and here the reversals continue and get more interesting. Wayne, unlike Lorre, had a small career playing nice guys; he’s a slightly built, blonde, pleasantly Midwestern guy.[19] Overall, does an excellent job; one miss-step is the scene where he tries to resist his impulses and break away from a potential victim, going to a nearby sidewalk café and downing a drink. While Lorre demands several in quick succession and eventually calms done, Wayne barely chokes down one before plopping face down on the table and sobbing; it’s very fake. On the other hand, in his big final speech — the “To be or not to be” of the role — he easily matches Lorre.[20]

Film buffs will no doubt miss Lorre’s whistling of the “Hall of the Mountain King” tune; I’m not sure why it was left out, unless it was thought too much of a “classic” bit and thus a cliché.[21] In its place, Wayne plays a little slide flute, and not only is it a pretty good substitute in the creepy department, it also fills a big plot hole in M31. How does Becker (Lorre) attract these little girls? He is, after all, Peter Lorre, and one would think anyone’s reaction to finding him standing next to you would be to more or less quickly and soundlessly put some distance between him and yourself. [22] But not only is Wayne a reasonably friendly-looking guy, the flute is just the sort of thing that would attract a child, and it even has Germanic folk tale resonances (The Pied Piper, of course).[23]

Pursuing Wayne is Lt. Becker [24] played by . . . Steve Brodie! Brodie’s career would sink into a black hole so deep that he would later “star” in not one but two MST3k favorites — The Giant Spider Invasion, and The Wild World of Batwoman, the latter being a leading contender for the worst movie ever made, or at least, the most cringe-worthy “comedy.”[25] But in 1951 Brodie was still doing OK for himself, with roles in noir classics like Out of the Past and Crossfire (both in 1947).

M51 would be the last big noir role, or indeed big role of any kind. He’s in The Caine Mutiny but not in the lead he had in the play, and by the sixties Elvis movies were the best he could find.[26] He did a lot of TV, though, and appeared four times on Alfred Hitchcock Presents. In 1957, he appeared in the episode “One More Mile to Go”:

Sam Jacoby and his nagging wife argue, and he accidently kills her by striking her with a rod. He decides to dump her body in a lake. Jacoby puts the body in his car trunk and takes off. A motorcycle policeman repeatedly stops him after seeing Jacoby’s burned out taillight. Eventually, the officer tells him to follow him to the station where a police mechanic will open the trunk and change the bulb.[27]

Brodie is quite effective as the cop in mirror shades who seems to be impishly toying with the murderer, who, for many reasons, seems a stand-in for the viewer. Many have suggested that this episode, directed by Hitchcock, contains the seeds of an idea he would expand to the first third of Psycho: the vaguely knowing cop behind the mirror shades, popping up to freak out the criminal we sympathize with. So Brodie connects us to Psycho again, and who played the driver, Jacoby? David Wayne!

One expansion of the original actually serves to ramp up the Judaic content. We get to seem more clues about the creep’s background, and you know what that means. There’s a photo of a strikingly ferocious woman that we suppose is his mother, and at night he models female figures in clay, then decapitates them.

Psychoanalysis, like its big brother, Marxism, is another Judaic cult disguising itself as a “science.” Like Marxism, it comforts its believers with an all-encompassing story, while stroking their vanity by telling them that only they are smart enough to know “what’s really going on.” Remember, “America had all sorts of isolated psychotics running around.”

It particularly appeals to Hollywood types, due to their already weak egos, as well as for a reason we see here: it helps the beleaguered scriptwriter by providing ready-made storylines.

Speaking of Marxism, some claim that “McCarthyism” was one reason for the film’s virtual disappearance.[28]

Three of his players on M — Howard Da Silva, Martin Gabel, and Luther Adler — were blacklisted, and M was greeted by right-wing picketers in Los Angeles that October.

As for Losey himself,

Three months after M was released, he left the United States for Europe to escape being subpoenaed by the House Un-American Activities Committee, which wanted him to explain his past membership in the Communist Party; subsequently, he enjoyed a long career in Britain and France but he never worked in America again.[29]

Here we have the final reversal: Lang and Lorre flee Europe for Hollywood, Losey and his actors flee Hollywood for Europe. And despite decades of whining and back-patting,[30] the fact remains that they got what was coming to them: the anti-sedition mechanisms — including the “Un-American Activities Committee” itself — were set up in the ’30s at the insistence of Commies in and out of Hollywood, so as to persecute anti-war activists and Aryan patriots as “isolationists” and “agents of foreign powers.”[31] I say, good on ’em.

But let us be generous in our triumph — at least, the prospective triumph of our White Nationalist reality. Let us go back to the beginning:

Losey opens with a shot out the window of the [Angel’s Flight] rail car as passengers board, stepping over tied stacks of newspapers screaming child killer sought, before the killer boards and the car begins its ascent.[32]

Yes, Losey begins his “remake” by showing the killer stepping over the news of his victims. I suggest we step over Losey’s agenda, and recuperate, as the “critical theorists” would say, the film for ourselves.[33]

In “Kafka: Our Folk Comrade” I suggested that once we know the facts behind the legend we can “step over” the decades of the Judaic ethnic networking to promote victim/prophet Kafka and retain his work for our own, as he would have wanted. In “Mike Hammer, Occult Dick” — and elsewhere — I’ve suggested that filmmakers are often overtaken by their own work and have their intentions subverted — Aldrich, intending to “destroy” the popularity of Mickey Spillane by portraying Hammer as a sadistic moron, produced a film that was condemned by the Legion of Decency as more sadistically violent that anything in the Spillane canon.

M51 gives us a chance to do both: take away Lang and Losey’s film and recuperate M as an Aryan film for ourselves: add Goebbels’ interpretation and substitute our West Coast for dreary Weimar.[34] Psychos, but nice, warm, “sun-washed,” if you will. Above all, White.

In this way, it does, once more, kind of resemble the Daniel Craig “reboot” of Bond, but again, reversed: instead of substituting a blond Jew for a dark Aryan, the dark chaos of Weimar Berlin is replaced by the “sun-washed nightmare” of the West Coast; degenerate Lorre is replaced by the sunny David Wayne; and although the intention was to suggest, Lynch-like, that the evil is right here in sunny White Land — “America had all sorts of isolated psychotics running around”– it’s still nice to be able to watch a movie that’s scary but with only nice White actors and scenery, isn’t it?


1. From Ms. Metroland’s blurb for my latest book, Green Nazis in Space! (San Francisco: Counter-Currents, 2015), in which the essay is collected.

2. Who had pulled a Savitri Devi by shacking up with a true Aryan, an Indian journalist.

3. The first, in 1931 (same year as M) is a pre-Code film that emphasizes the sleazy innuendo and is mildly interesting as such; the second, retitled Satan Met a Lady (the winning suggesting in a studio contest) is an unfunny “comedy” starring then-matinee idol Warren Williams and Bette Davis, who hated the picture so much she walked out on her contract. The third time proved to be the charm with John Huston’s 1941 version, featuring  . . . M31’s Peter Lorre.

4. For the history, see Jef Costello, “The Cat is Back! The Spectre Behind S.P.E.C.T.R.E.,” here.

5. See the excellent review (of both movie and history) “The (re)making of M: Joseph Losey takes another crack at the Fritz Lang masterpiece,” by J. R. Jones, Chicago Reader, October 20, 2013, online here.

6. “We don’t have a machine that makes exact copies.” Don Draper to Pete Campbell, accusing Pete of stealing his copy of a rather Frankfurt School-ish “psychological profile” of the “death instinct” of the average smoker, in Mad Men, Episode 1.1, “Smoke Gets in Your Eyes.” Lang, in M, Mabuse, and elsewhere, was a first class retailer of Freudian claptrap to the movie-going masses.

7. You can view and compare both on the Criterion Collection DVD release.

8. Wikipedia, here. To see for yourself, you can either get a bootleg online, as I did, or, as Wikipedia notes, “It was included as a bonus feature on the Classic Monster Collection DVD in 1999, the Legacy Collection DVD in 2004, the 75th Anniversary Edition DVD set in 2006, and was remastered in high definition for the Universal Monsters: The Essential Collection Blu-ray boxed set. In September 2014 it was released as part of the 4-DVD/6-movie set, titled Dracula: Complete Legacy Collection. The film was theatrically released on October 25 & 28, 2015 as part of the “TCM Presents” series by Turner Classic Movies and Fathom Events. Two showings each day played a double-feature with the Spanish film’s English counterpart.”

9. See “Breaking Bad: A Celebration” by Jef Costello, here.

10. See “Walter White, Meet Walter Blanco: It’s the Same Story, With a Different Desert, ‘Metastasis,’ a Spanish-Language Version of ‘Breaking Bad,’ Debuts,” Mike Hall, New York Times, June 17, 2014; online here.

11. “‘Breaking Bad’ doesn’t get lost in Spanish translation,” Gary Levin, USA TODAY, June 3, 2014; online here.

12. Wikipedia, here. The article details the changes as: “The story of Nosferatu is similar to that of Dracula and retains the core characters—Jonathan and Mina Harker, the Count, etc.—but omits many of the secondary players, such as Arthur and Quincey, and changes all of the characters’ names (although in some recent releases of this film, which is now in the public domain in the United States but not in most European countries, the written dialogue screens have been changed to use the Dracula versions of the names). The setting has been transferred from Britain in the 1890s to Germany in 1838. In contrast to Dracula, Orlok does not create other vampires, but kills his victims, causing the townfolk to blame the plague, which ravages the city. Also, Orlok must sleep by day, as sunlight would kill him, while the original Dracula is only weakened by sunlight. The ending is also substantially different from that of Dracula. The count is ultimately destroyed at sunrise when the “Mina” character sacrifices herself to him.

13. Or rather, “pandering to the base.” “‘Fanservice’ is also sometimes used in a more general way, referring simply to any crowd-pleaser thrown in just because. When this is something non-sexual, like needlessly flashy attacks in a Humongous Mecha show, long guitar/bass/drum solos in a concert, or throwing in lots of obscure continuity references in a long-running work, it’s Pandering to the Base. Sexy fanservice is considered the default form, because it is everywhere, and it’s easy to add to any kind of show.” Such as in Casino Royale when Daniel Craig, asked if he wants his martini shaken or stirred, says “Do I look like someone who cares?”; or in Skyfall, where Bond and M escape London in an Aston Martin DB6, and Bond lingers over the ejector button “we” know is hidden in the stick shift lever. Not that there’s anything wrong with fan service generally.

14. See my “Mike Hammer, Occult Dick: Kiss Me Deadly as Lovecraftian Tale,” here and reprinted in The Eldritch Evola … & Others (San Francisco: Counter-Currents, 2014).

15. Along with an impressive amount of work over a long, Academy-awarded career, ranging from “prestige” anti-Nazi schlock like Judgement at Nuremberg and Ship of Fools and noir like D.O.A., as well as colorful comedies like It’s a Mad, Mad, Mad, Mad World and sci-fi like Logan’s Run and Fantastic Voyage; even MST3k favorites Tormented and The Space Children get excellently moody photography. Was he intimidated here, asked to reproduce a Lang classic early in his career?

16. I have not seen the recent (2015) French DVD, which supposedly is the best version. If you can play Region 2 DVD’s, get it from here and let me know.

17. On the way, he sample the “campy though surprisingly effective wimp” who earns Sam Spade’s grudging respect in the aforementioned Maltese Falcon; see my discussion of the film in “Humphrey Bogart: Man among the Cockroaches,” reprinted in The Homo and the Negro (San Francisco: Counter-Currents, 2012).

18. Or not. Lorre actually had better things to do in 1951: he was actually back in Germany, directing his own—and only—film, Der Verlorene (The Lost One). It sounds like the title of a late Beckett piece, and with reason. The New York Times is dismissive: “In look and tone ‘The Lost One’’ shows the influences of Lorre’s early career in the German cinema, especially of the work of Fritz Lang and of ‘M’ . . . It’s a good deal less successful as an attempt to illuminate the Nazi phenomenon, which it analyzes in a series of rather perfunctory clichés. . . . A curiosity” (Vincent Canby, August 1, 1984, online here). I recall seeing it once on TV and it’s really rather effective in its miserablist fashion. Lang is a respectable scientist who for various reasons commits some murders, but the NS government is less interested in some random killings than in the ongoing slaughter of the Allied assault. Even when arrested, an Allied bombing raid destroys the police station, freeing Lorre and destroying the evidence (shades of Lang!). And the occupation authorities are also uninterested in pursuing a minor league serial killer when there’s denazification to handle. Consumed with guilt, he becomes a doctor in a refugee camp, but meeting an old colleague drives him to jump in front of a train.

19. Kids will probably only recall him as “The Mad Hatter” on the Batman TV series, and, until his death, the original “Digger Barnes” of Dallas; closer to M51, he starred in one of the first three Twilight Zone episodes to be produced, “Escape Clause.”

20. At times he recalls, to me at least, Burgess Meredith’s nervy little characters, such as the Whittaker Chambers clone in Preminger’s Advise and Consent, which I discuss (the film, not Meredith) in End of An Era: Mad Men and the Ordeal of Civility (San Francisco: Counter-Currents, 2015). Meredith did the same little guy in a number of Twilight Zones, like Wayne, (always have a second pair of glasses!) and like Wayne, is perhaps best remembered as a Batman villain, the Penguin.

21. The classical music trope is still there, as we see early on Wayne listening to it on the radio in his crummy apartment. Lest we fail to identify the music, the announcer asks us to tune in again “for more classical music.” In my KMD review, I note how odd it is that when Mike Hammer turns on the radio, it’s already on a classical station, since he is otherwise played as a knuckle-dragging brute. Later, he reverts to form and “tortures” a witness by smashing his collection of opera 78s one by one. A similar poke in the ribs occurs soon after when, restricted by the Hollywood production code from having the little girls raped (killing them is OK, though) a spectator says “Why do the police keep saying they weren’t ‘abused’ or ‘interfered with’? What difference does it make?”

22. “It’s also moving in a way he could not have foreseen, in that it demonstrates how his physical being — his distinctive looks and manners — would inevitably limit the sorts of roles available to him in spite of his talent.”—Canby, op. cit. The same criticism can be made of Anthony Hopkins’ Dr. Lecter: he’s too obviously evil to ever pass unnoticed as a psychiatrist or museum director; just as Dracula couldn’t show up today and not excite suspicion. Brian Cox’s Dr. Lecktor (spelled as per Manhunter) by contrast is convincing, since, as I’ve said elsewhere, he looks like the sort of guy who’d strike up a conversation with you on a bus, and before long you wake up in his basement. See my “Essential Films … & Others,” here.

23. I recall in grade school some kind of Music Man like guy showing up in class one day to hawk his flutes; I suppose the idea was to get us interested in music and the arts.

24. In M31, Lorre is Hans Beckert, and the first victim we see is Elsie Beckman. Jews seem to like this kind of name-play—“onomastic comedy,” Thomas Mann called it, who noted it in himself and Hermann Hesse. In The Producers, notice how all the leads have “B” names—Bloom, Bialystock, de Brie, du Bois—except Hans Leibkind, who was originally going to be played by . . . Brooks himself.

25. Another Batman link, sort of. See my “Essential Films,” here, again. Giant Spider teams him up with Barbara Hale, noted for playing Della Street opposite the Perry Mason of Raymond Burr, who plays a mobster here.

26. In a final indignity, Wikipedia adds that “at the time of his death, The Los Angeles Times erroneously stated in his obituary that Brodie had been nominated for an Academy Award as Best Supporting Actor for 1949’s Home of the Brave. In truth, Brodie was actually not among the five nominees in that category that year.”


28. A better reason from ChrisDFilm at IMDB: “The reason why this excellent Joseph Losey version of M is virtually unavailable in any form is because Columbia, the original studio, lost the rights many years ago. The rights reverted to the original producer Seymour Nebenzal. Either he or — if he is deceased — his family’s estate, seem to be apathetic about doing anything with the film in regards to things like DVD releases or screenings on Turner Classic Movies cable channel (though it might help if somebody at Turner did the detective work and contacted them). The only existing print (at least a publicly known existing print) is at the BFI (British Film Institute) in London. (2008)” Later: “The very mediocre/poor bootleg VHSs and DVDs out in circulation seem to be all from the same original source, a 16mm print from either an uninterrupted cable TV airing in the 1980s or a 16mm film chain transfer. I know, as far as existing prints (that are known to archives), there is only one 35mm because when I was a programmer at the American Cinematheque in L.A. between 1999-2009, we frequently questioned the main film archives to see if they had a print. BFI in the UK was the only one, at least in English-speaking territories. (2011)”

29. J. T. Jones, op. cit. Jones adds that “When the M remake was released, Lang showed up at a promotional screening and got into a shouting match with Nebenzal; according to film scholar Thomas Elsaesser, Lang ‘was not prepared to acknowledge’ Losey as a member of the directing profession.” Another example of Judaic hysteria and bumptiousness; see my review of The Strange One for another example of the self-defeating hysteria of Jewish directors.

30. Most recently, the loathesome Trumbo (2015), starring Bryan Cranston, still riding the wave of . . . Breaking Bad.

31. For the “Great Sedition Trial of 1944” of Lawrence Dennis and 14 others, see Margot Metroland, “Lawrence Dennis, 1893-1977” here; and for more background on “the high art of demonization” see “Tale of a ‘Seditionist’–The Lawrence Dennis Story” by Justin Raimondo,, April 29, 2000, here.

32. Jones, op. cit.

33. “Stepping over” was phrase of Jonathan Bowden’s that has become iconic for the North American New Right. “But that’s life, and that’s power, and that’s the reality and the vortex of power. What we have to do is to understand that things have been used against us for ideological reasons, irrespective of the facts, and only when we have the courage to do that will we revive. So it’s really only when a leader of revivalist opinion is asked, ‘Well what’s your view of the Shoah then?’ And they say, ‘We’ve stepped over that.’ ‘What do you mean you’ve ‘stepped over’ that? Are you minimizing its importance to humanity?’ You say, ‘We are minimizing its importance to our form of humanity!’” See “Revisionism, Left & Right, Hard & Soft,” here.

34. “I reject your reality and substitute my own!”—Mythbuster Adam Sandler.


If you enjoyed this piece, and wish to encourage more like it, give a tip through Paypal. You can earmark your tip directly to the author or translator, or you can put it in a general fund. (Be sure to specify which in the "Add special instructions to seller" box at Paypal.)
This entry was posted in North American New Right and tagged , , , , , , . Both comments and trackbacks are currently closed.


  1. Posted January 5, 2016 at 3:34 pm | Permalink

    Lang was quick to offload any hints of “Nazi” tropes here and elsewhere onto his collaborator, Thea von Harbou (apparently an enthusiastic Hitlerite).

    Von Harbou, a very talented writer, was the major reason Lang’s German films were so popular among national socialists. She wrote most of the scripts, and the ideas of Metropolis are clearly hers.

    Von Harbou remained loyal to Hitler well after NS Germany’s defeat. She apparently kept a picture of him on her dresser until her death — at least that’s what the cover of my copy of her prose treatment of Metropolis tells me. She was a national socialist, but not an anti-Semite, which is less odd than it may appear.

    He then (Lang says) offered Lang the leadership of the German film industry. Lang then went home, packed his bags, and headed for Paris and, eventually, Hollywood.

    The story is apparently untrue. If I recall correctly, there is no record of Goebbels meeting with Lang the day he claimed their meeting occurred.

    From Lang’s perspective, he preferred a narrative that cast him as a principled opponent of Hitler, leaving his homeland as a political dissident, rather than merely a Jew fleeing an anti-Jewish government.

    Lang was only partly Jewish and didn’t identify as a Jew. His mother was a Jewish convert to Christianity. He was baptized and raised a Catholic and thought of himself a German Catholic culturally and an agnostic religiously. But after 1933 his Jewish ancestry became a problem, despite his popularity among nationalist Germans. Hence his emigration from Germany.

    In Hollywood he would present himself, likely sincerely, as an Austrian Catholic. There are Christian themes in many of his American films.

    I have a bias here, because Lang is among my favorite directors, but I don’t think he can be described as a Jew in any meaningful cultural sense.

    — Irmin

  2. rhondda
    Posted January 5, 2016 at 11:26 am | Permalink

    I am on to you James and your mega footnotes. I figured out how to open another window and so your text and footnotes are side by side. ( So I am a slow learner. )

    Oh yes and just who now a days are promoting peodophilia as normal and deserving of respect? Perhaps we should ask the children, as most of them seem to be brighter than certain adults.

    • James O'Meara
      Posted January 5, 2016 at 12:08 pm | Permalink

      Actually, I hadn’t thought of that. Perhaps I should add that as “operating instructions” for each article?

  3. Petronius
    Posted January 5, 2016 at 6:43 am | Permalink

    Fritz Lang is hardly an “overrated” director. The famous, chilling Lorre monologue at the end of M was written by Thea von Harbou, as Lang often emphasized. It is silly to say that he wanted to create a “sympathetic portrait of a child murderer”, that is just what “Der ewige Jude” claimed.

    • James O'Meara
      Posted January 5, 2016 at 12:05 pm | Permalink

      You are right to protest about Lang’s genius. To be clearer, I said/meant that the period was over-rated, indeed “impossibly” so, meaning that the aura of “victims of the Nazis” makes it impossible for most “critics” to regard anything of the period as other than unquestionable genius — the more “degenerate” the better. And vice versa: anyone who stayed in Germany is regarded as more or less “tainted” (unlike those who stayed in Soviet Russia, who are treated as progressive heroes). I wouldn’t deny Lang was a genius — there’s no scare quotes around “masterpiece” in the title — just the “unquestionable” part.

      One way in which Lang’s film is improved — though perhaps accidentally — is the way the defense attorney’s role is expanded. He goes off on a rant about how his career was ruined by the mob, and how they’re the real killers, not Wayne. One of the crime bosses shoots him right before the cops break in, and (this is the accidental part) many in the audience will be glad his absurd defense is cut short with a bullet. “He’s sick! If he were blind — cut to blind beggar — would you kill him?” The answer, of course is, “if he were strangling little girls, yes.”

      Lang’s larger agenda is anti-death penalty; his film ends with the mothers asking if all this will bring back their children (again, an irrelevant question); Losey drops this, and in effect the ending is Brodie almost gleefully saying “At least there’s a murder!” so that even if Wayne gets only committed, at least the crime boss with fry, so it’s a good day. Weird, but then these are LA cops.

      I think Michael Mann (a Judaic and a downright Negrophile) has a more nuanced position in Manhunter, where FBI profiler Will Graham says of the Tooth Fairy “As a child, I pity him, as an adult, I want to blow him out of his socks. Does that sound like a contradiction?”

      • Petronius
        Posted January 5, 2016 at 9:31 pm | Permalink

        Curiously, Goebbels raves enthusiastically in his diaries how pro-death penalty “M” is. I think the film leaves the question open for the viewer to decide, which adds to its perennial appeal. The ethical controversy in the gangster’s trial is an eternal deadlock – both sides have equally sound and tainted arguments. The whole sequence is so haunting, I don’t know anything in film history that equals it.

        The Losey version isn’t as great, but it is very underrated. It gave me nightmares when I first watched it.

        I think Weimar cinema, especially the silent era, was certainly the peak of German cinema. But a revisionist history of Third Reich cinema has yet to be written – many forgotten great movies were made during that era as well, many of which do not fit the Third Rich clichés at all.

    Kindle Subscription
  • EXSURGO Apparel

    Our Titles

    Confessions of a Reluctant Hater (2nd ed.)

    The Hypocrisies of Heaven

    Waking Up from the American Dream

    Green Nazis in Space!

    Truth, Justice, and a Nice White Country

    Heidegger in Chicago

    The End of an Era

    Sexual Utopia in Power

    What is a Rune? & Other Essays

    Son of Trevor Lynch's White Nationalist Guide to the Movies

    The Lightning & the Sun

    The Eldritch Evola

    Western Civilization Bites Back

    New Right vs. Old Right

    Lost Violent Souls

    Journey Late at Night: Poems and Translations

    The Non-Hindu Indians & Indian Unity

    Baader Meinhof ceramic pistol, Charles Kraaft 2013

    Jonathan Bowden as Dirty Harry

    The Lost Philosopher, Second Expanded Edition

    Trevor Lynch's A White Nationalist Guide to the Movies

    And Time Rolls On

    The Homo & the Negro

    Artists of the Right

    North American New Right, Vol. 1

    Forever and Ever

    Some Thoughts on Hitler

    Tikkun Olam and Other Poems

    Under the Nihil

    Summoning the Gods

    Hold Back This Day

    The Columbine Pilgrim

    Confessions of a Reluctant Hater

    Taking Our Own Side

    Toward the White Republic

    Distributed Titles

    Tyr, Vol. 4


    The Node


    Carl Schmitt Today

    A Sky Without Eagles

    The Way of Men

    Generation Identity

    Nietzsche's Coming God

    The Conservative

    The New Austerities

    Convergence of Catastrophes


    Proofs of a Conspiracy

    Fascism viewed from the Right

    Notes on the Third Reich

    Morning Crafts

    New Culture, New Right

    The Fourth Political Theory

    Can Life Prevail?

    The Metaphysics of War

    Fighting for the Essence

    The Arctic Home in the Vedas

    Asatru: A Native European Spirituality

    The Shock of History

    The Prison Notes

    Sex and Deviance


    On the Brink of the Abyss

    Beyond Human Rights

    A Handbook of Traditional Living

    Why We Fight

    The Problem of Democracy


    The Path of Cinnabar


    The Lost Philosopher

    Impeachment of Man

    Gold in the Furnace


    The Passing of a Profit & Other Forgotten Stories

    Revolution from Above