Retrospective 2016

M (J. Losey)

Joseph Losey
USA 1951
86min
V'16

David Wayne plays the killer Martin Harrow with a bland-faced intensity that prefigures Anthony Perkins’ Norman Bates in PSYCHO more than it looks back to Lorre. Most chilling of all is the scene of the killer sitting in the dark, his face shrouded in shadow, tightly grasping the dangling cord of the lamp hanging above him, wrapping it around his fist, breathing heavily and pulling his hand further and further up the cord. It’s such an obviously sexual scene that one wonders how Losey got away with it. This is immediately followed by a scene where he goes over to his desk, still panting breathlessly, and begins molding a clay sculpture of a child, wrapping a cord around its neck and squeezing to pop its head off, while Losey prominently highlights the photograph of a matronly older woman behind the sculpture, a mise en scène detail that suggests the killer is a sexually frustrated mama’s boy. (Ed Howard)

Credits
  • David Wayne - Martin W. Harrow
  • Howard Da Silva - inspektor Carney
  • Martin Gabel - Charlie Marshall
  • Norman Reilly Raine
  • Waldo Salt
  • Leo Katcher
  • Ernest Laszlo
  • Edward Mann
  • Michel Michelet
  • Edward R. Robinson
Superior Pictures
35 mm
bw
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