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M: Comparison (Eureka vs. Criterion) 
Written by: on December 14th, 2005
Theatrical Release Date: Germany, May 11th, 1931
Director: Fritz Lang
Writers: Fritz Lang, Thea von Harbou
Cast: Peter Lorre, Ellen Widmann, Inge Landgut, Otto Wernicke, Theodor Loos

M

M

DVD released: 2003 2004
Approximate running time: 105 minutes 110 minutes
Aspect Ratio: 1.19:1 Aspect Ratio 1.19:1 Aspect Ratio
Rating: PG NR
Sound: Dolby Digital Mono German with English subtitles Dolby Digital Mono German with English subtitles
DVD Release: Eureka Criterion
Region Coding: Region 2 Pal Region 1 NTSC
Retail Price: $29.95 $39.95

Eureka’s Region 2 DVD
Criterion’s Region 1 DVD

The Film :

A child murderer ( Peter Lorre) stalks the city and after an exhaustive police search for him leads nowhere leads to public hysteria. The police turn up the heat because of the public outrage about this madman on the loose which also affects organized crime. So the underworld criminals begin their own search to rid the streets of the child murderer so that they can get back to business as usual. Can the police or underworld criminals catch the child murderer before he kills another child?

Video:

Eureka’s and Criterion’s re-release of M present the film for the first time on home video in its original 1.19:1 aspect ratio. The narrowness of this format is due to the variable density soundtrack which is located to the left of the picture area. There isn’t that much difference between the two releases which were both sourced from the recent M restoration. Eureka’s release offers slightly more information on all four corners while Criterion release offers sharper detail overall. Eureka’s and Criterion’s re-release of M are both amazing restorations and it is hard to believe that a film seventy three years old could look so good.

Audio:

M was Fritz Lang’s first sound film and his innovative sound design has also been given the red carpet treatment. Both the Eureka and Criterion re-release of M are presented in a Dolby Digital German mono and English that are easy to read and follow had been included. The clarity on the both of these releases in the voices and background sounds is a vast improvement over Criterion’s 1998 release of M that suffered from hiss and distortion. The sound design of M is an important ingredient to the films success and M has never sounded better.

Extras:

Both releases are loaded with extras that give incite and perspective into the making of M and its legacy. The extras on Eureka’s release include several featurette’s “Lending order to horror – M”, “For example – Fritz Lang”, “More about M” and an interview with Fritz Lang. Other extras include a photo gallery, bios and filmographies. Rounding out the extras is a featurette about the restoration of M and a feature length audio commentary. The Extras for Criterions release are just as impressive as the ones included on the Eureka release. Extras include a 32 page booklet that includes an essay, the script for a missing scene, news articles and an interview with Fritz Lang. Other extras include a still gallery, M editor Paul Falkenberg discussing the film, an interview with Claude Chabrol and his short film version of M. Rounding out the extras is a featurette “A physical history of M” and William Friedkin’s “Conversation with Fritz lang”, an interview with Harold Nebenzal son of the producer of M and an audio commentary with German film scholars Anton Kaes and Eric Rentschler.

Overall:

Both Eureka’s and Criterion’s DVD’s offer a stunning audio/video presentation’s with a wealth of extras and the minor differences between the DVD’s amounts to apples and oranges. Each release comes with extras that are exclusive to each release and both are must own DVD’s for fans of Fritz Lang’s M.

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