Fritz Lang was an Austrian-born filmmaker who made over 50 films. He directed the 1927 classic Metropolis, which is considered to be one of the greatest movies ever made. Lang also directed M and Fury, two other classics that have since become cult hits.

Lang was born in Vienna in 1898. His father was a conservative politician who led a vehement anti-Semitic movement in Austria. As a result, Lang grew up with anti-Semitic views himself.

Who Is Fritz Lang?

In 1921, Lang moved to Hollywood where he began working as an assistant director at Warner Bros Studios. There he met Darryl F. Zanuck and became friends with him and his wife Olive Borden (who would later work with him on his films).

Lang quickly became known for his talent and innovation when it came to film technology.

For example, Lang used anamorphic lenses for the first time in Metropolis, which was one of his most famous films featuring futuristic cities and robots that look like humans but are actually mechanical beings designed to destroy humanity.

Best Fritz Lang Films        

When it comes to the best Fritz Lang films, we think you’ll agree that Metropolis is a must-watch. The 1927 sci-fi epic was the first film produced by Lang, who went on to create classics like The New York Story, M and Fearless.

Metropolis is based on a German sci-fi novel by Thea von Harbou, which was adapted into a play by Lang in 1926.

It tells the story of Freder (Peter Nestler), who works as an underground worker at the city of Metropolis a futuristic city where robots and humans work together for the good of everyone else.

When Freder meets Maria (Thea Von Harbou), he falls in love with her but soon learns she’s part of a group called The Sons Of The Mind and they want to overthrow their masters, the gods.

As chaos erupts around them, Freder tries to save Maria from being killed by one of her own kind.

Characteristics of Fritz Lang Films         

In Fritz Lang’s films, he used the camera in a very unique way. He was able to make his films more stylistic by using angles and lighting. He also used this technique to create suspense and shock.

Many of his films involve themes such as crime, corruption and corruption. In most of his films, there is a clear villain that is depicted as evil or bad.

In most of his films, there are three main characters who play different roles throughout the film. The first character is usually the hero/heroine who has to fight against the bad guys or monsters.

The second character could be an ally or friend to the hero/heroine who helps them on their quest or journey. The third character could be an enemy who tries to stop what is happening in the story or movie from happening again. Another characteristic about Fritz Lang’s films is their use of violence;

however, there are some movies that have no violence at all such as “Metropolis”.

Another characteristic about Fritz Lang’s films is their use of psychology; however, there are some movies that have no psychology at all such as “M” (1931) which starred Peter Lorre as an insane serial killer with telekinetic powers.”

1. Metropolis (1927)

Fritz Lang’s 1927 science fiction epic Metropolis is one of the most important films in the history of cinema. It’s also one of the most significant films ever made, as it helped usher in a new era in film, with its use of special effects and groundbreaking editing techniques.

The film is set in a futuristic dystopia where wealthy elites live underground while workers toil above ground. A young woman named Maria (Alfred Abel), who works as a typist, falls into a relationship with Freder (Bruno Ve Sota),

a worker who dreams of revolution against the city’s elite. However, Freder becomes consumed by his obsession with finding out what lies beneath Metropolis’ surface — which leads him on a dangerous journey into the bowels of the city itself.

The film is often compared to Dickens’ A Tale Of Two Cities for its themes about class struggle and political corruption. However, Metropolis has also been called “the first science fiction film,”

because it was concerned with issues such as how technology affects society; how man interacts with technology; and how people respond when their beliefs are challenged by new ideas or discoveries. The story also features several striking images that

The Complete Metropolis (Silent)
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  • Brigitte Helm, Gustav Froelich, Rudolf Klein-Rogge (Actors)
  • Fritz Lang (Director) - Fritz Lang (Writer) - Erich Pommer (Producer)
  • (Playback Language)
  • Audience Rating: NR (Not Rated)

2. The Big Heat (1953)

Directed by Fritz Lang. With Humphrey Bogart, Lauren Bacall, John Huston and Gloria Grahame. A wannabe crime lord forms an alliance with a female cop to catch the mobsters who killed his brother-in-law.

In The Big Heat, Fritz Lang adapts the novel of the same name by Donald Westlake, which was first published in 1955. The book is set in San Francisco during the 1950s and concerns a police beat officer named Virgil Mallory (John Huston).

He’s not made for cops; he’s more like a private eye, although he does have some experience as a policeman in Minneapolis before coming to California to work as a policeman there. His wife (Gloria Grahame), who is much more serious about being married than he is,

suspects that something is wrong with him – maybe even something wrong with her marriage – and she starts to investigate while they’re on a vacation together down South.

She finds out that he was once involved with a woman named Barbara Mallory who has committed suicide after being framed for murder by corrupt cops. Virgil gets involved in trying to clear Barbara’s

The Big Heat
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  • Glenn Ford, Gloria Grahame, Jocelyn Brando (Actors)
  • Fritz Lang (Director) - Sydney Boehm (Writer) - Robert Arthur (Producer)
  • English (Playback Language)
  • English (Subtitle)

3. M (1931)

M is a 1931 German thriller film directed by Fritz Lang. The screenplay was written by Lang and Carl Lamac, based on the short story “The Man Who Laughs” by Robert W. Chambers.

M is considered one of the first science fiction films ever made and was also the first German sound film to use synchronized dialogue for its English-language version.

The film stars Peter Lorre as an evil industrialist who plots to rule the world with his secret weapon, a machine that can create life from nothing. In order to achieve this goal, he must be killed in such a way that it appears he has been killed by someone else; thus making it look like he died a natural death.

He employs his own son (Hans Albers), who has been given a new face, and another man (Jürgen Drews). To achieve his plan, Lorre kills off all those around him until only he and his son are left alive.

After being shot down in an airplane crash, Lorre’s son assumes control of the world with him as its ruler

M (English Subtitled)
  • Amazon Prime Video (Video on Demand)
  • Peter Lorre, Ellen Widmann, Inge Landgut (Actors)
  • Fritz Lang (Director) - Thea von Harbou (Writer) - Seymour Nebenzal (Producer)
  • (Playback Language)
  • Audience Rating: NR (Not Rated)

4. Scarlet Street (1945) 

 Fritz Lang’s Scarlet Street (1945) is a rich, complex and layered mystery film. It is based on the novel by Edna Ferber, who also wrote Show Boat (1929) and Cimarron (1931).

The film follows the story of a middle-class family where the mother devotes all her attention to her sickly daughter Julia. She lives in an apartment building with her sister Minnie who works as a nurse at home. The family is supported by their wealthy father Arthur and his wife Alice who lives in a mansion.

Julia falls in love with Harry Farnham, a man she meets on the street one day. He seems like an ordinary man but later turns out to be a serial killer who kidnaps women and kills them slowly before he buries them underground.

The rest of the movie follows how Julia manages to escape from Harry and how she tries to find out what really happened to her family members after they disappeared one after another.

Scarlet Street
  • Amazon Prime Video (Video on Demand)
  • Edward G. Robinson, Joan Bennett, Dan Duryea (Actors)
  • Fritz Lang (Director) - Dudley Nichols (Writer) - Fritz Lang (Producer)
  • English (Playback Language)
  • English (Subtitle)

5. Destiny (1921)             

 Destiny (also known as A Reckoning), is a 1921 American silent drama film directed by Fritz Lang and starring Paul Wegener. It was the third of Lang’s German Expressionist films, and the first to be released in America.

The plot concerns a man who, after an accident, loses his memory and becomes obsessed with his past. He seeks out his wife, whom he believes he has killed, but she is alive and living with another man.

The film was based on the play Destiny by Berthold Viertel, which had been adapted into a play by Viertel and Arthur Schnitzler in 1920.

Destiny was released by Metro-Goldwyn-Mayer in 1921; although it has been lost, MGM still owns the rights to it today.[1][2] It was shot over eight weeks at sets built for other movies at MGM’s studios in Culver City, Los Angeles.[3] The film features an early appearance by Rudolph Valentino.[4]

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Destiny (1921)
  • Lil Dagover, Walter Janssen, Bernhard Goetzke (Actors)
  • Fritz Lang (Director)
  • English (Subtitle)
  • Audience Rating: NR (Not Rated)

6. The Testament of Dr. Mabuse (1933)

“The Testament of Dr. Mabuse” is a film that was made in Germany during the early 1930s and which was released in 1933. It is considered one of the greatest films ever made, and it has been called “the first American film to be shot in Germany since World War I.”

   

It was directed by Fritz Lang and stars Peter Lorre as a criminal who sets out to destroy his former employers, the people who have brought him up from childhood to become a criminal. He does this by killing them and then framing their deaths on each other.

The movie follows an elaborate plot that involves many characters and locations, but it does not follow any particular storyline. It is instead composed of separate scenes that are linked together by a series of coincidences that make sense only when viewed as part of an overall plot.

This makes it difficult to describe what happens in each scene without giving away some key element of the plot or revealing too much information about how things work out for various characters at different points in the story line.

Das Testament Des Dr Mabuse [Masters of Cinema] (Dual Format Edition) [Blu-ray] [1933]
  • The Testament of Dr. Mabuse ( Das Testament des Dr. Mabuse ) ( Das Tagebuch des Dr. Mabuse (The Crim
  • The Testament of Dr. Mabuse
  • Das Testament des Dr. Mabuse
  • Das Tagebuch des Dr. Mabuse (The Crimes of Dr. Mabuse)
  • Rudolf Klein-Rogge, Gustav Diessl, Rudolf Schündler (Actors)

7. Fury (1936)   

Fury is the story of Max Teasdale, a young car mechanic who loves his wife, Helen, and their son, Sean. When Helen’s father dies, Sean’s mother takes Sean to live in a mental hospital.

The doctor who runs the institution tells Max that Helen has been admitted because she has a nervous breakdown and must be isolated from society. Soon after Helen begins treatment at the hospital,

they discover that she is pregnant with another man’s child. Her husband grows increasingly angry over her infidelity and her refusal to help him find out who fathered their child. When Helen gives birth to a baby boy whom they name Michael,

Max is convinced that he has been replaced as the family’s father; he decides to leave town and never return again. He leaves his tools behind on purpose so that others will assume he has abandoned his business for good. However, when someone tries to steal his car one night,

it ends up being wrecked in an accident; Max manages to save himself but cannot save anyone else from being killed. He then heads back home where he finds out from Sean that his wife has been released from the hospital and apparently gone into hiding with another man named

Fury (1936)
  • Amazon Prime Video (Video on Demand)
  • Sylvia Sidney, Spencer Tracy, Walter Abel (Actors)
  • Fritz Lang (Director) - Bartlett Cormack (Writer) - Joseph L. Mankiewicz (Producer)
  • English (Playback Language)
  • English (Subtitle)

8. Spies (1928)  

 Spies is a 1928 German silent film directed by Fritz Lang and starring Emil Jannings, Werner Krauss, Olga Tschechowa, Heinrich George and Ernst Kubelka. It was based on the novel The Spies by Curt Oertel.

The film begins with the 1919 Treaty of Versailles that ended World War I and the German Revolution that followed. The Treaty imposed reparations on Germany and banned it from having an army. Berlin becomes a city divided into Allied zones controlled by the British and French.

A young man named Paul Kornfeld (Emil Jannings) is a spy for Germany who enters France with his friend Walter (Heinrich George). They meet Marie (Olga Tschechowa),

who works in an office for the Germans but has been taken prisoner as part of their plan to win back territory from France. Kornfeld falls in love with her but does not tell her about his work for Germany,

thinking she will be ashamed of him if she discovers it. She later tells him that she loves him and wants to marry him, but he refuses because he believes she would be ashamed of him if they were found out together. Later they bump into Marie’s friend Anna (Werner Kra

Spies (Silent)
  • Amazon Prime Video (Video on Demand)
  • Fritz Rasp, Rudolf Klein-Rogge, Willy Fritsch (Actors)
  • Fritz Lang (Director) - Thea von Harbou (Writer) - Erich Pommer (Producer)
  • (Playback Language)
  • Audience Rating: NR (Not Rated)

9. Die Nibelungen: Siegfried (1924)        

 The Nibelungen is a series of four films by German filmmaker Fritz Lang, released between 1924 and 1927.

The films are an adaptation of the German epic poem Nibelungenlied (The Song of the Nibelungs) by the poet-philosopher Friedrich von Schiller.

The first film in the series was director Lang’s own interpretation of Siegfried as a young man who, like Fafner, battles against evil. The second film,

in 1926, was a sequel to this film called Götterdämmerung (Twilight of the Gods), and then another sequel, Siegfried II (1930), followed in 1931.

The films have been widely considered among Lang’s best; they are frequently cited as having influenced the Hollywood sword and sorcery genre.[4] They have also been praised for their cinematography (especially for its use of shadows) and for their performances (particularly that of Max Schreck as Fafner).

Lang attempted to make a fourth film about Sigurd Fafner but it did not materialize until 1968 when Universal Pictures made Die Nibelungen: Siegfried (The New Adventures of Siegfried).[5]

Los Nibelungos (Ed.Remasterizada) (1924) (2brp) (Die Nibelungen: Siegfried (Siegfrieds Tod) (Die Nibelungen - Teil I) (Kriemhilds Rache (Die Nibelungen - Teil II) (Blu-ray) (Non Us Format) (Region 2) (Import)
  • Margarete Schön, Rudolf Klein-Rogge, Georg John, Theodor Loos, Hans Adalbert von Schlettow,...
  • Fritz Lang (Director)
  • Castilian, Portuguese (Subtitles)
  • Audience Rating: Unrated (Not Rated)

10. Dr. Mabuse, the Gambler (1922)      

Dr. Mabuse, the Gambler is the original film noir classic of German Expressionism. It’s one of those films that we all have to watch at some point, but it is also one of those films that you can’t really watch too often.

The plot is a bit convoluted and complicated  it’s about a criminal mastermind named Dr. Mabuse and his quest for world domination but the characters are so well-drawn and engaging that you want to keep watching them even if they don’t necessarily make sense. And while this film was made in 1922,

it feels like something that could have been made today. It’s not just the fact that there are cars on screen; it’s how they’re used and how they look.

It still looks like a crime thriller today because it plays with shadows and angles in such an effective way. It’s also worth noting that Dr. Mabuse was based on an actual person who lived in Germany during World War I who claimed credit for various crimes including bombings throughout Europe;

he was eventually captured by police and executed for his crimes (although he committed suicide before being executed).

Dr. Mabuse, The Gambler (Silent)
  • Amazon Prime Video (Video on Demand)
  • Gertrude Welcker, Bernhard Goetzke, Rudolf Klein-Rogge (Actors)
  • Fritz Lang (Director) - Fritz Lang (Writer) - Erich Pommer (Producer)
  • (Playback Language)
  • Audience Rating: NR (Not Rated)

11. The Woman in the Window (1944)  

 I haven’t read this book, but I found it interesting that the main character, Agatha (Agatha in my notes) is a woman who has lived her whole life with her parents and her husband. She’s been married to a man who is not only physically abusive but also emotionally abusive. He beats her when he gets angry.

Agatha has become so used to being abused and controlled that she doesn’t feel real emotions other than anger and hatred towards him.

She’s also told by everyone around her that she’s crazy for thinking that her husband could ever be capable of murder — after all, he was just doing his job by finding out what happened to the people who got murdered.

Her neighbors seem to care more about gossiping about Agatha than they do about helping her find the killer of their neighbors’ children. When the police come over to talk with them (hearing their story),

one of them asks if anyone else saw anything unusual at the time of the murders. “I saw something,” says Mrs. Van Schuyler, “but I didn’t let you know because it made me embarrassed.”

The Woman In The Window
  • Amazon Prime Video (Video on Demand)
  • Edward G. Robinson, Joan Bennett, Raymond Massey (Actors)
  • Fritz Lang (Director) - Nunnally Johnson (Writer) - Nunnally Johnson (Producer)
  • English (Playback Language)
  • English (Subtitle)

12. Ministry of Fear (1944)          

 The film is a suspense thriller that explores the theme of paranoia and the lengths people will go to in order to survive. It’s also a political thriller, with a twist.

The movie stars Edward G. Robinson as Dr. Richard Kimble, a former army surgeon who is released from prison after 15 years for a crime he didn’t commit. He returns home to find his wife has divorced him and moved on with her life without him.

To make matters worse, his daughter has been kidnapped by gangsters who want $70,000 ransom money stolen from an armored car convoy being protected by Kimble’s old army unit.

Kimble tries to keep it together but begins to unravel as the kidnappers grow more desperate for their money and another innocent victim is murdered during their search for Kimble’s daughter.

As more bodies pile up, Kimble becomes convinced that someone in his own family is helping the kidnappers kill anyone who gets in their way — and that someone could be him!

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Ministry of Fear (The Criterion Collection) [DVD]
  • Factory sealed DVD
  • Ray Milland (Actor)
  • Fritz Lang (Director)
  • English (Subtitle)
  • English (Publication Language)

13. Die Nibelungen: Kriemhild’s Revenge (1924)              

 The Nibelungs are a group of characters that have been associated with Germanic legend. They were the subjects of several medieval works of German poetry, including the epic poem Nibelungenlied. In the twelfth century,

the poem was translated into Middle English by an unknown author, and became one of the most influential works in Old English literature.

The story centers on two brothers named Kriemhild and Alberich (or Atli), whose father was killed by Siegfried after he had rejected Kriemhild’s marriage proposal. Kriemhild then married Etzel or Attila, king of Huns,

who was also known as Dietrich von Bern. After her death, her brother Siegfried found out about this marriage and took revenge on Dietrich by murdering him and imprisoning Kriemhild in a tower guarded by dragons.

Kriemhild’s Revenge is a 1924 German silent film directed by Fritz Lang based on Gottfried Keller’s 1874 novella Die Nibelungen: Der Ring des Nibelungen (The Saga of the Nibelungs). The film follows events set out in Keller’s novella but omits some details

Die Nibelungen: Kriemhild’s Revenge
  • Amazon Prime Video (Video on Demand)
  • Margarete Schön, Gertrud Arnold, Theodor Loos (Actors)
  • Fritz Lang (Director) - Thea von Harbou (Writer) - Erich Pommer (Producer)
  • (Playback Language)
  • Audience Rating: NR (Not Rated)

14. Human Desire (1954)

Fritz Lang is a German filmmaker who was born in Germany. He was an early film director who made many great science fiction movies during his career. He made the movie “Human Desire” in the 1950s.

The movie starts off with a group of scientists who are conducting experiments on human beings. The scientists take people and inject them with different chemicals that they hope will help them live longer and be healthier.

The scientists have big hopes for these chemicals so they can use them on humans in real life, not just as test subjects or guinea pigs. In some cases, the scientists even give their test subjects drugs that they know will kill them but they still do it because they believe they will gain knowledge from the experiment.

One day, Dr. Marschner receives a package containing photos of his wife and daughter taken by one of his assistants before he died in an accident at work years earlier.

He tries to find out what happened to his family but all he does is leave notes for his assistant, who has gone missing along with another scientist named Ludwig Vanderspool who had been assisting him on this project

Human Desire (1954) [ Blu-Ray, Reg.A/B/C Import - Spain ]
  • Human Desire (1954)
  • Human Desire (1954)
  • Glenn Ford, Gloria Grahame, Broderick Crawford (Actors)
  • Fritz Lang (Director) - Human Desire (1954) (Producer)
  • English, Spanish (Subtitles)

15. Clash by Night (1952)

The movie Clash by Night, released in 1952, is a crime drama directed by Fritz Lang. The film stars Paul Henreid, Gloria Grahame and Tyrone Power.

The storyline revolves around two men who are both wanted for murder and are forced to team up with each other in order to get away from the police. They find themselves being hunted down by two corrupt cops who are determined to make them pay for their crimes.

The murder mystery element of Clash by Night makes it one of the more interesting movies of its genre. While it is not necessarily a great movie, it does have some good elements that make it worth watching again at least once during your lifetime.

The first thing that you will notice about this movie is that there is no real plot or story line whatsoever. The characters just kind of show up one day at another place doing what they do best – getting into trouble!

There is no reason why these guys were called detectives or why they were sent out on this particular case other than because someone else needed them to do something for them at some point during the movie

Clash by Night
  • Amazon Prime Video (Video on Demand)
  • Barbara Stanwyck, Paul Douglas, Robert Ryan (Actors)
  • Fritz Lang (Director) - Alfred Hayes (Writer) - Harriet Parsons (Producer)
  • English (Playback Language)
  • English (Subtitle)

16. You Only Live Once (1937)   

You Only Live Once is a 1937 American drama film directed by Fritz Lang and starring George Raft, Jean Harlow and Edward Arnold. The screenplay was written by David Boehm from the novel Danger,

Incorporated by Robert M. Armstrong and James M. Cain, who also wrote Double Indemnity and The Postman Always Rings Twice for Lang. The film was reworked into an opera in 1943 by Nikolai Rimsky-Korsakov, based on two of Cain’s short stories “The Postman Always Rings Twice” and “A Double Life”.

The film’s original title was The Perils of Pauline; however, the censor objected to any reference to the name of Pauline Ronin in connection with crime or vice.

The story follows Pauline (Jean Harlow), a young woman who manages to escape from prison after being sentenced as an accessory to murder. She eventually finds herself working at a brothel owned by her friend Pearl (George Raft).

Unbeknownst to Pauline, her father (Edward Arnold) has been hiding out in the brothel for years after being accused of murder; he eventually goes back into hiding because he fears his wife (Marie Prevost) may discover

You Only Live Once
  • Amazon Prime Video (Video on Demand)
  • Sylvia Sidney, Henry Fonda, Barton Maclane (Actors)
  • Fritz Lang (Director) - Gene Towne (Writer) - Walter Wanger (Producer)
  • English (Playback Language)
  • English (Subtitle)

17. Hangmen Also Die! (1943)

Hangmen Also Die! is the last film of director Fritz Lang. It is a crime drama about the police attempts to solve a murder. The film stars Peter Lorre, Brigitte Helm and Paul Henreid.

Hangmen Also Die! was made in 1943 after the Nazis took over Germany. Lang wanted to make an anti-war film about how people could not change their ways, even when facing war and death. In 1940, he had been forced to flee from France, where his Jewish wife had been killed in an apparent anti-Semitic attack on her family home.

In Hangmen Also Die!, Lorre plays a criminal who escapes from prison and goes on a killing spree through Berlin. He murders a young man (Henreid) who has betrayed him and is also responsible for his wife’s death.

Lorre then takes over the man’s apartment and begins killing anyone who has anything to do with him or his past life, including his own mother (Helm).

Hangmen Also Die - WWII Suspense Classic, Produced & Directed By Fritz Lang, Uncut!
  • Amazon Prime Video (Video on Demand)
  • Brian Donlevy, Walter Brennan, Anna Lee (Actors)
  • Fritz Lang (Director) - Fritz Lang (Writer) - Fritz Lang (Producer)
  • English (Playback Language)
  • English (Subtitle)

18. Rancho Notorious (1952)     

Rancho Notorious is a 1952 film directed by Fritz Lang, based on the novel of the same name by James M. Cain. It stars Marlene Dietrich and Tyrone Power, with Ronald Reagan making his film debut in a supporting role.

The film is about a young cattle rustler in Mexico who falls in love with the daughter of his employer.

Plot

The film opens in Mexico City where Juan Rocha (Tyrone Power), an American mining engineer working for an important Mexican landowner named Don Jose Moraga (Lionel Atwill), is arrested for stealing cattle.

When he is released three months later, Rocha discovers that his employer has disappeared, and that Moraga’s daughter Flora (Marlene Dietrich) is now engaged to marry another man.

Rocha then decides to abduct Flora and hide her away in his own home. While attempting to escape after having taken her from Moraga’s estate, Rocha gets lost in the desert,

where he meets up with a gang of bandits led by Apolinar Valencia (Ronald Reagan). Together they begin a journey across Mexico which will bring them into conflict with Valencia’s former partner Gin

19. Woman in the Moon (1929)

 Woman in the Moon (1929) is a silent film written and directed by Fritz Lang, starring Peter Lorre and Marlene Dietrich. It is a remake of Lang’s own 1925 silent film of the same name. It is considered to be one of Lang’s best films.

The story concerns a young woman (Dietrich) who travels through space in a rocket ship to join an explorer’s expedition to Venus. It was also the movie debut for Dietrich, who had previously appeared in several minor roles without much screen time.

In this version, Lang changed the ending from that of his previous film version: instead of being killed by Martians, she falls into the clutches of an evil scientist on Venus who believes he can make her immortal. In addition to giving Dietrich more screen time than in the original version,

this change also allowed him to introduce a new character, Dr. Zwerge (Lorre), who becomes romantically involved with her while they are on Venus together but is revealed to be a cruel scientist whose experiments on Venus have led him to madness as well as having turned his wife into a skeleton-like monster.

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Woman in the Moon
  • Willy Frisch, Gerda Maurus, Klaus Phol (Actors)
  • Fritz Lang (Director)
  • English (Subtitle)
  • Audience Rating: NR (Not Rated)

20. Moonfleet (1955)    

Moonfleet is a 1955 British-American romantic adventure film directed by Alfred Hitchcock, based on the 1851 novel of the same name by Dennis Wheatley. The film stars Richard Widmark, Nicola Pagett and Francesca Annis and features an early performance by Vivien Leigh. The film has been described as “the first Hitchcockian period piece”.[1]

The story concerns a moonlit robbery at the home of Sir Thomas Elyot, a wealthy landowner who has been engaged to marry his daughter Judith (Annis). He is unaware that she has a secret lover, Philip Blake (Widmark),

who also wishes to marry her. When Elyot discovers Blake’s identity, he refuses to allow him to marry Judith until he can prove his identity and his love for her.

In order to help Blake prove that he is sincere, Judith allows him to take her over the marshes in her coach so that they can be alone together. When they reach Elyot’s estate, Blake falls from the window onto the ground below and is assumed dead by the servants there and by the townsfolk who come to watch them try out their relationship in

Moonfleet
  • Amazon Prime Video (Video on Demand)
  • Ray Winstone, Aneurin Barnard, Sophie Cookson (Actors)
  • Andy De Emmony (Director) - J. Meade Falkner (Writer) - Dan McCulloch (Producer)
  • English (Playback Language)
  • English (Subtitle)

21. While the City Sleeps (1956)

“While the City Sleeps” is a 1956 film noir directed by Fritz Lang. It stars David Niven, Marie Windsor and Herbert Marshall. The film’s musical score was composed by Bernard Herrmann.

The story is about a man who goes to Paris to find out if his wife has been unfaithful and finds that she has been murdered by her lover. The man goes on a quest for revenge while trying to uncover the truth about what happened to his wife.

It was filmed in black-and-white and color, as it was released in both formats simultaneously. The film was shot in France and Spain with an estimated budget of $1 million.

The director shot many of the scenes himself because he felt that it would be easier for him to control lighting conditions on set than having an assistant director do it for him.

While the City Sleeps (1956)
  • Amazon Prime Video (Video on Demand)
  • Dana Andrews, Rhonda Fleming, George Sanders (Actors)
  • Fritz Lang (Director) - Casey Robinson (Writer) - Bert E. Friedlob (Producer)
  • English (Playback Language)
  • English (Subtitle)

22. Man Hunt (1941)

Man Hunt was produced by RKO Radio Pictures, a small independent studio that had produced a number of films in the 1930s under the supervision of Howard Hughes. Man Hunt is a film that has an interesting history and I’d like to talk about it before we get into the review itself.

Man Hunt started as a script by John Paxton, who also wrote The Blue Gardenia and was later nominated for an Oscar for his work on Gone with the Wind.

He had previously worked on a number of films for Raoul Walsh including The Big Trail and The Front Page, both directed by Walsh himself. Paxton died in 1943 before he could complete his first draft for Man Hunt, which he’d originally titled The House on Telegraph Hill.

When RKO bought the rights to Man Hunt they hired Fritz Lang to direct it after seeing his work on Die Nibelungen (1924).

Lang had been working as an assistant director during this period and had made several films such as Dr Mabuse der Spieler (1922), Die Nibelungen II: Siegfried (1924) and Die Nibelungen III: Gibichte der Ring des Nibel

Man Hunt
  • Amazon Prime Video (Video on Demand)
  • Walter Pidgeon, Joan Bennett (Actors)
  • Fritz Lang (Director) - Geoffrey Household (Writer) - Len Hammond (Producer)
  • English (Playback Language)
  • English (Subtitle)

23. The Blue Gardenia (1953)    

The quintessential noir film, The Blue Gardenia is the story of a private eye who’s hired to find out who’s been killing off his fellow detectives. This is one of several films Fritz Lang directed in the early ’50s that are often overshadowed by Metropolis and M, but this one is a little different from its contemporaries:

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=zMTChJEHZ20

it has no overt science fiction elements, or even any strong science fiction elements. It’s just a good old-fashioned detective story, told with some style and wit.

The Blue Gardenia also shares with many noirs an odd mixture of darkness and light — not just in terms of mood but also in terms of how much violence there is. It’s not always clear what these two things have to do with each other;

you could say that they’re both about crime and punishment, but it doesn’t seem like either should be so pleasant.

The Blue Gardenia
  • Amazon Prime Video (Video on Demand)
  • Anne Baxter, Richard Conte, Ann Sothern (Actors)
  • Fritz Lang (Director) - Charles Hoffman (Writer) - Alex Gottlieb (Producer)
  • English (Playback Language)
  • English (Subtitle)

24. The 1,000 Eyes of Dr. Mabuse (1960)

In this film, Lang used the story of Adolf Hitler’s rise to power in Nazi Germany to explore the psychology of an insane criminal mastermind. The film is set in Weimar Germany,

where Hitler was a rising political figure and had just been appointed chancellor. As the Nazis rose to power, they began to threaten the existence of democracy itself.

The film begins with a scene of Hitler addressing a crowd at a rally. As he speaks, we see that he is silent for long stretches of time before saying something like “Ah!” or “Yes!” or “Mmhmm!” He also appears almost emotionless when speaking with his wife Eva Braun (Hanna Schygulla).

After he dies in 1945 and his body is discovered in Berlin’s Fuhrerbunker by American troops, they cut open his stomach and discover that he had been eating rats while in hiding during the war.

25. Beyond a Reasonable Doubt (1956)

 Beyond a Reasonable Doubt, by Fritz Lang, is about a criminal lawyer who defends his client in court. The case against the defendant is based on circumstantial evidence and not on concrete facts. The lawyer must decide whether to give up the case or not.

The movie was written by Lang in response to a case he had been involved with during the early 1940s, when he defended a scientist accused of crimes against humanity.

The scientist was convicted and sentenced to death, but Lang’s efforts led to his commutation to life imprisonment.

Beyond a Reasonable Doubt is a courtroom drama that examines the trials of science and law, focusing on a lawyer who aspires to be a judge but must make decisions based only on circumstantial evidence.

The lawyer is presented with several cases in which scientific evidence is used against him and must decide which cases he will take on as clients.

Beyond a Reasonable Doubt (1956)
  • Amazon Prime Video (Video on Demand)
  • Dana Andrews, Joan Fontaine, Sidney Blackmer (Actors)
  • Fritz Lang (Director) - Douglas Morrow (Writer) - Bert E. Friedlob (Producer)
  • English (Playback Language)
  • English (Subtitle)

26. Secret Beyond the Door… (1947)

Fritz Lang’s 1947 picture is a classic of its kind. It’s one of the most enduring thrillers ever made, and it’s also one of the most influential.

The movie was based on a novel by Richard Sale and stars John Hodiak as a janitor who discovers a hidden door in his apartment building. When he steps through it, he finds himself in an apartment that belonged to his late wife,

who went missing a few years earlier. The man takes it upon himself to find her killer — but as he investigates further and deeper into this mystery, his past comes back to haunt him.

Lang was known for making films that were dark and moody, but this one was particularly grim. He shot Secret Beyond the Door… in black-and-white so that it would be more realistic  but it also meant he had to use real blood for some scenes.

It also helped that Hodiak was just around 30 when he took on the role of Frank Haller; as such, his performance seems very young compared to other actors at this time (like James Mason).

The film became an instant hit with critics

Secreto Tras La Puerta (Secret Beyond The Door) 1947 Fritz Lang
  • Joan Bennett, Michael Redgrave (Actors)
  • Fritz Lang (Director)
  • Audience Rating: Unrated (Not Rated)

27. The Return of Frank James (1940)

The Return of Frank James is a Western film from 1940, directed by Fritz Lang and starring Henry Fonda, Olivia de Havilland, and Barbara Stanwyck. It was adapted from the novel of the same name by Zane Grey and produced by Alfred Newman. The film is considered by some as one of the best westerns ever made.

The story centers on two brothers: John Book (Henry Fonda) and his younger brother Frank (Fritz Lang). When John goes to prison for robbing a bank and killing a man in self-defense,

he learns that his father has died in order to protect him from prosecution. His mother, who has always loved John more than Frank, refuses to tell him who he is or where their home is located. He decides to go on an adventure to find out about himself and his family before it’s too late.

In the final scene of the film, we see John riding through town with another man on horseback who is wearing a hat with a white feather in it. This suggests that John may be going into hiding due to what happened at the end of The Outlaw Josey Wales where he was shot while trying to run away from his pursuers

Return of Frank James, The
  • Amazon Prime Video (Video on Demand)
  • Henry Fonda, Gene Tierney, Jackie Cooper (Actors)
  • Lang,Fritz (Director) - Sam Hellman (Writer) - Kenneth Macgowan (Producer)
  • English (Playback Language)
  • English (Subtitle)

Best Fritz Lang Films – Wrapping Up

Fritz Lang was a German filmmaker, screenwriter and film producer. He is often identified as one of the greatest stars in American cinema history. He was born in Austria-Hungary and moved to Germany in 1926.

Lang’s work was influenced by German expressionism, and he directed a number of classic films that have become standards for later generations.

He won the Academy Award for Best Director in 1929 for his film M, which also won best picture of the year. Other notable works include Metropolis (1927), Fury (1936) and Spione (1939).

 

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