How Sound Is Used Expressively in M

10 October 2016

In the beginning of the movie everything appears normal but within minutes you are thrown into a frantic time in Germany. A serial killer of children is on the loose and a mother waits at home for her young daughter. When are then shown her growing anticipation for her daughter to get home but at the same time shown her daughter talking to a shadowy figure who buys her a balloon. Her mother screams her name over and over as the camera shows different scenes.

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This is expressive because the sound of her voice shows how worried she is and the interchanging scenes show she is nowhere to be found. Then the scene of her ball rolling into the brush and her balloon tangles in the electrical wires signifies her death. Without the mothers screams the scene would not have delivered the dramatics that it did. Another instance of sound being used expressively was the part in the movie where the minister and the chief of police are discussing finding Elsie’s killer.

They show many scenes of the police doing various investigations including combing areas for clues, interrogating people, night raids and trying to pick up scents with a dog. This scene shows how intense there investigation is and the chief’s monologue gives you the added intensity of the situation. With the chief talking about how they plan to find the killer and the scenes of the police doing their investigation being shown, Lang manages to expressively show a wide scale investigation in a short time with aural and visual aspects. It’s something that could not be done with a silent movie.

The essence of the movie is then truly captured with the parallel sequence shots depicting the criminal underworlds meeting and the police meeting. M is not only a story about a serial killer but, it shows the similarities at the time of the criminals and the police due to the lack of control in postwar Germany. This comparison is very expressively shown when Lang uses what they are saying to show how very similar they are. Everything from both the rooms being filled with cigarette smoke to dialogue that is seemingly mirrored from their separate meetings, is a great

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