How Sound Is Used Expressively in M

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Matthew C.March 29, 2013
How Sound is Used Expressively in M
The film M is Frits Lang first journey into making a motion picture with sound, which in 1931 is considered revolutionary. The movie takes us into post World War 1 Germany during the Weimer Republic before the Nazi’s. With the new technology of sound in film Frits Lang is able to make M a movie with very expressive sound. There were many instances which showcase this but I chose three in particular that I think show this the best. 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. 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...
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