Fritz Lang Season

m-fritz-langThe Hiroshima Cinematographic Library is showing a selection of films directed by Fritz Lang this month.

Appropriately for the director who has been described as the “Master of Darkness”, the season kicks off with the 1931 German language thriller M which star Peter Lorre as a serial child murderer.

M came 4 years after his German expressionist epic science-fiction film Metropolis and marked Lang’s first foray into “talkies”. Lang was to flee Nazi Germany in 1934 (as was Lorre) and directed 21 feature films in the US, films that now are said to have been integral to the emergence and evolution of American genre cinema and film noir in particular. There are two showings of each of the eight films and admission is a very reasonable ¥500.

M (1931, 99min)
German with Japanese subtitles
Wednesday December 11
14:00, 18:30

This film about a serial child molester and murderer was Lang’s first sound film and he considered it his finest work. It predates his move to the US and stars Peter Lorre who was also to flee the Nazis.

You Only Live Once (1937, 86min)
English with Japanese subtitles
Thursday, December 12
14:00, 18:30

This early film noir crime drama stars Henry Fonda. It was Lang’s second American film and is described by MOMA as “one of his best” and “technically impeccable.”

Man Hunt (1941, 105min)
English, German with Japanese subtitles
Wednesday, December 18
14:00, 18:30

The first of Lang’s four anti-Nazi films (three of which are included in this season) opens with an unsuccessful assassination attempt on Adolf Hitler. Its uncompromising portrayal of Germans shocked some in the, then, still neutral US. The New York Times describes it as the best of the many interventionist films produced in Hollywood before Pearl Harbor, and as “clean and concentrated elegant and precise”.

Hangmen Also Die (1943, 134min)
English with Japanese subtitles
Thursday, December 19
14:00, 18:00

Loosely based on the 1942 assassination of Reinhard Heydrich, the Nazi Reich Protector of German-occupied Prague, number-two man in the SS, and a chief architect of the Holocaust, who was known as “The Hangman of Prague.”

Minstry of Fear (1944, 86min)
English with Japanese subtitles
Wednesday, December 25
14:00, 18:30

Based on a novel by Graham Greene, the film tells the story of a man just released from a mental asylum who finds himself caught up in an international spy ring and pursued by foreign agents after inadvertently receiving something they want.

Cloak and Dagger (1946, 106min)
English with Japanese subtitles
Thursday, December 26
14:00, 18:30

Gary Cooper plays an American physicist leading the way to Atomic power development in the United States. He is called upon to help the OSS towards the end of World War II after they discover the Germans are developing an atomic bomb.

The Big Heat (1953, 90min)
English with Japanese subtitles
Friday, December 27
14:00, 18:30

Film noir about a cop, played by Lee Marvin, who takes on the crime syndicate that controls his city after the brutal murder of his beloved wife.

As America emerged from the war era… Lang was able to discover a fertile homegrown landscape for his particular paranoia… his vision of violence and crime reached its fullest flowering in The Big Heat.


Beyond a Reasonable Doubt (1956, 80min)
English with Japanese subtitles
Saturday, December 28
14:00, 18:00

Lang’s final American film in which a novelist tries to frame himself in the murder of a stripper as part of an effort to ban capital punishment.


Paul Walsh

Paul arrived in Hiroshima "for a few months" back in 1996. He is the co-founder of and loves running in the mountains.