I think I really do have something wrong with me when it comes to films made pre-1990. I automatically look at them and decide that I'm not going to like them, they will be dated and rather twee. Yet whenever I watch one I find that it is incredibly enjoyable. Now granted I may just be watching the better movies from that period, no real surprise there considering I am watching IMDB top 100, but there has so far yet to be a film from an older era that I have enjoyed.
In fact I could go even further and say that as far as most movies go, the pre-70s era are surely going to contain a lot better films as they have to spend more time developing characters and a story line and can't rely on CGI to keep people entertained. Yes we can have stunts and wonderful chase sequences but everything that you see in the movie has to have been able to have been done in real life - which obviously makes the film much more realistic, and in some cases perhaps makes the film a little bit more dramatic.
The film M reminds me a lot of an Agatha Christie novel. Everything has to be built up and explained thoroughly to make sure that the audience knows exactly what is going on. We need to build the suspense as opposed to relying on cheap gimmicks or brutal murder scenes. Furthermore this is all in the days before a CSI-overloaded investigation - so how do you catch a criminal without any clues?
Within M there is no twist, that perhaps Christie would have gone for, simply because there is no need. Almost from the off we know "who-dunnit" and the suspense is in how the police, the public and the criminal underworld try to figure out what we already know.
There are some wonderful scenes building on suspicion. When we have no idea who then quite simply anyone can be it, and how the public become a vigilante mob when they are threatened in such a way. There is also an interesting scene towards the end once the murderer has been caught and is being tried, and it looks like he is almost able to convince the mob that he is unable to control himself - it begins to look like many are starting to emphasise before once again mob rule takes over.
All in all this is a good movie, and is a crime-thriller done particularly well.