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One of the important works of the early sound cinema that helped pioneer the use of sound as an expressionistic rather than a naturalistic addition to the moving image. Rarely has sound been used as boldly as in this terrifying excursion into the dark underworld of a nightmare city where it is difficult to distinguish morally between the activities of organized crime and organized law enforcement: caught in the middle and pursued by both law and the syndicate is a pathetic child murderer driven to his crime by loneliness and the despair of the city. Peter Lorre gives his immortal performance, and Lang's direction displays a mastery of nerve-splitting suspense perhaps unequalled in all cinema. Few films have so successfully fused atmosphere with plot, image and sound, and expressed gestures with those unexpressed but felt.

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