Commentaries on this Media!
M, sound, and off-screen spaceby Kate Fortmueller
The opening sequence of M provides a clear example of how sound can open up off-screen space. The scene cuts between Elsie walking home (and the disembodied whistling) and her mother preparing a meal (against the backdrop of a children’s nursery rhyme). Although these sounds seem simply present to create mood, the distinctive whistle becomes an important plot point and ultimately leads to Beckert’s capture.
M (1931) - Elsie Disappears
In the opening of M, Elsie Beckmann (Inge Landgut) walks home while Frau Beckmann (Ellen Widmann) prepares a snack that she never gets to eat. This early sound film uses sound in innovative ways to open up off-screen space.
- from M (1931)
- Creator: Fritz Lang
- Distributor: The Criterion Collection
- Posted by Kate Fortmueller