TRIAL SCENE IN FRITZ LANG’S “M”

Shot Description                                              

Shot 1

Cinematography: MLS

Shot Duration: 11 seconds

Sound: Foot Steps, Beckert yelling

Editing: Beckert turns around, the camera then cuts to the next shot.

 

Analysis 

–  After finding out about Beckert’s crimes against those children, I assume the audience feels that Beckert deserves what has come to him, yet the strange part about it is that he was caught by criminals rather then the police. The audience is anticipating what is going to happen and who Beckert is seeing once he turns around.

Shot 2

Cinematography: LS

Shot Duration: 30 seconds

Sound: No sound, until  Beckert yells “Help”.

Editing: LS begins from the left side of the room and moves slowly to right side.

 

– This shot is very interesting. We don’t expect there to be such an enormous crowd of criminal waiting to give Beckert a trial and punishment for the crimes he has committed.  We also notice that at the center of the crowd is a  table seating the leaders and so called, prosecutors.

Shot 3

Cinematography: MLS

Shot Duration: 5 seconds

Sound: Beckert is screaming to be let out.

Editing: Beckert is facing the crowd and turns around in terror and tries to run up the stairs.  He realizes what he is about to face.

 

–  After noticing the crowd of criminals that are against him, Beckert turns around and desperately begs to be freed, yet they are reluctant.

Shot 4

Cinematography: MLS

Shot Duration: 5 seconds

Sound: leader of the gang speaks

Editing: Camera focuses on the main prosecutors.

 

– The prosecutors of the trial inform Beckert that he will not be let out.

Shot 5 

Cinematography: MLS, CU, MS, LS

Shot Duration: 47 seconds

Sound: Beckert and blind man speak.

Editing: Shot goes from Beckert walking while he is speaking.  Feels a hand on his          shoulder (blind man’s hand), moves into a MS of both the men, and then goes into a       LS of Beckert and the crowd of criminals.

–  Beckert attempts to plead innocent and explains that there must be a mistake.  However we notice the guilt and terror in his eyes as soon as someone grabbed his shoulder. Beckert and the audience soon find out that it is the hand of the blind beggar who was there on the day he committed the murder and is also the key witness in this trial so called “trial”.  Beckert is now aware of the troubles which he is about to face.  The beggar informs everyone  that this is no mistake and that Beckert is in fact the one who committed the crimes.  The beggar then shows Beckert a balloon that resembled the one he had bought for the Elise Beckmann ( the little girl he murdered).  The balloon covers most of the shot and is looking down at Beckert, as if it were the dead girls spirit.  Beckert begins to move backwards in terror, until he reaches the table.

Shot 6

Cinematography: CU

Shot Duration: 3 seconds

Sound: gang leader speaks.

Editing: Camera moves to a close up  the gangs leader. There is then a straight cut to next shot.

 

– We move to the interrogation of Beckert by the gang leader.  He as Beckert “where did her bury, little Martha?”.

Shot 7

Cinematography: LS to MS

Shot Duration: 11 seconds

Sound: Beckert speaks.

Editing: Camera is at a LS and moves to a MS. Then it straight cuts to the next shot.

 

– Beckert explains that he didn’t even know little Martha.  While in the background, the beggar is being escorted away.

Shot 8 

 Cinematography: CU to MS

Shot Duration: 16 seconds

Sound: leader speaks

Editing: Shot cuts from CU of the pictures to the MS of Beckert.

–  The leader of the gang continues to interrogate Beckert by showing him pictures of the other young girls that were murdered and after each picture the camera switches over to a guilty looking Beckert.  He expresses this guilt through his facial expressions.

Shot 9

Cinematography: LS, MLS, MS, CU

Shot Duration: 30 seconds

Sounds: The crowd is screaming.

Editing:  We go through series of shots that follow Beckert as he is trying to escape,        but through force he captured and thrown on to the ground.

 

–  Beckert is now aware that everyone knows his secret.  He must now try to escape before they kill him.  He tries to fight his way out, but there are too many people holding him back.  When the shot goes to a close up of his face we are able to feel struggle, before he finally gives in and is thrown to the ground.

Shot 10

Cinematography:  MS

Shot Duration: 12 seconds

Sounds: Beckert speaks while crowd yells.

Editing: Camera faces Beckert as he speaks yet we are still able to hear the crowd.

 

–  After being thrown to the ground Beckert is in pain.  He is also screaming at the crowd and telling them that they have no right to treat him the way they do.  However the crowd is not sympathetic.

Shot 11

Cinematography: MS, CU

Shot Duration: 53 seconds

Sounds: the people in the crowd speak.

Editing:  The camera starts by showing a women, then moves to the gangs leaders and then goes to a moving CU of some of the men in the crowd.

–  The crowd become very shocked and angry.  They don’t believe that Beckert should have any rights considering the horrible crimes he has committed.  Yet the gang leader quiets the crowd down and informs Beckert that is he wishes to have a trial, then they will proved him with a lawyer.  The leader also informs him that he should not be worried, since all of the jurors are experts in crime, considering the amount of jail time they have served.

Shot 12

Cinematography:  CU, MS

Shot Duration: 40 seconds

Sounds: Beckert and defense lawyer speak.

Editing: Camera moves from a CU of Beckert to a MS of Beckert and his lawyer.

 

–  Beckert cannot believe what is going on.  He refuses to have a lawyer in an absurd trial.  He is then patted on the shoulder.  The camera moves into a MS, which reveals Beckerts so called lawyer, who then advises him to watch what he is saying.

Shot 13

Cinematography:  MS

Shot Duration: 25 seconds

Sounds: Beckert yelling, crowd laughing.

Editing: Camera again focuses on Beckert while speaks, but his voice is overlapped by the laughter in the crowd.

 

–  Beckert tries to convince the crowd of criminals to send him over to the proper jurisdictions.  He doesn’t believe that these criminals have the right to determine his fate, especially when they are just out to kill him.

Shot 14

Cinematography:  MS

Shot Duration: 30 seconds.

Sounds: Gang leader speaks.

Editing: Camera focuses of gang leader, then there is a straight cut to Beckert.

–  The gang leader explains that they will not hand Beckert over to cops because then he will not receive the punishment that he deserves. They need to ensure that he can never do what he has done again.

Shot 15

Cinematography: MS, LS

Shot Duration: 50 seconds

Sounds: Beckert speaks

Editing: camera focuses on Beckert, yet moves for a second to a LS of the crowd.

–  This is one of the greatest and most dramatic shots in the film.  Beckerts speech gives the audience an good understanding of his character and the reasons why he has committed these crimes.  He claims that he forced to do these things and it is something inside of him that he is unable to control.  The only way he is able to turn it off is by killing someone.  We are able to go inside the mind of a truly sick person.  In Beckert’s speech, he also mentions that unlike these other criminals who are able to stop their crimes and do them mainly out of laziness, he has no control over what he does.  Which is why they have no right to put him on trial.

Shot 16

Cinematography:  MS

Shot Duration: 2 min 15 seconds

Sounds: Beckert speaks

Editing: Camera mainly focuses on Beckert, however every so often moves to the  audience, so that we can witness their expressions and feelings of what he is                saying.

–  The gang leader is unclear about what Beckert is saying.  So Beckert goes on to explain his madness in such great detail.  The audience realizes now that Beckert truly has no control over his actions.  It is like a drug for him, that if he doesn’t take will cause excruciating pain.  Peter Lorre truly gives an outstanding performance his role.

I chose this scene because it is the point where the audience is able to understand the pain that Beckert goes through.  Before this scene many of us probably wanted him to die, yet after we realized how much he was suffering inside, we begin to feel sympathetic towards him.  The difference between the criminals in the crowd and Beckert is that they are able to change, but he is controlled by his sickness.

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