Egotistical, self-mythologizing, sneering, pretentious monocle... gee-whiz, Mistah Pete, we never would have guessed Fritz Lang was one of your heroes!
Hey, you like dystopian science-fiction movies with sexy robots? You like serial killer movies where you can't tell whether to hate or cheer the villain? You like mad scientists and super villains bent on world domination? If you've ever enjoyed one of these movie tropes, you should tip your hat to Fritz Lang, because he invented them. His "Metropolis" influenced everything from "Bladerunner" to "Terminator." "Psycho" and Hannibal Lecter wouldn't exist without "M," the movie that made Peter Lorre an international superstar. His "Dr. Mabuse" movies, along with robotics inventor Rottwang in "Metropolis," gave us diabolical maniacs and mad doctors -- seriously, the doctor in "Frankenstein" was a direct swipe from these, down to the wardrobe.
His first sound picture, "M," came after sound was sort of a regular thing, but it used sound in ways no one had before -- and everyone did after. Prelapped dialogue wasn't even imagined in 1931, and the near-absence of music would've driven a studio mad (if Lang had answered to any studios back then). But a soundtrack would only have robbed us of the terror that came with the music that was present -- the simple whistling of "In the Hall of the Mountain King" from "Peer Gynt," which presaged each killing. And then there were vast sequences without sound at all, which were almost as chilling. It's amazing to watch it and realize that no one had even considered how you could use sound before this.