The years have been surprisingly kind to this sanitised sketch of compulsive killer Peter Kürten, guillotined in 1930 for nine murders, whose case inspired Fritz Lang's M and Ulli Lommel's Tenderness of the Wolves. Combining a mincing, stiff-armed walk with a fastidious, courtly manner, Hossein turns Kürten into a cross between a timid Truffaut hero and some bright-eyed, remorseless rodent. The background of political upheaval (the film opens with a mini-documentary on the Weimar Republic) is pseudo-significant: anomalies like Kürten are hardly a product of social conditions. Still, the sullen strikers and cruising Brownshirts all add to the atmosphere of disturbance and hysteria. The quirky tone is sustained by the score - written by the director's father - which like the whole film manages to be simultaneously jaunty and funereal.
Cast and crew
|Screenwriter:||Robert Hossein, Claude Desailly, Georges-André Tabet|