By Chloe Sarnoff
Fritz Lang was born in Vienna, Austria in 1890. As a young man, he trained as a painter and even studied painting in Paris during the years he spent traveling Europe, Asia and North Africa. At the age of 25, Lang returned home to Vienna and enlisted in the army. However, soon after joining the war effort, he was badly injured. During his recovery, he began to toy around with the idea of writing scripts for films. When his injuries proved too severe to continue fighting, Lang experimented with acting at a local theater in Vienna. He was then offered a position at a production company in Berlin. Not long after arriving in Germany, Lang married a writer and actress named Thea von Harbou. Together, the pair wrote and directed some of Lang’s most famous films: Dr. Mabuse: The Gambler, Siegfried, Metropolis and M. M depicted the crimes of a serial killer whose main targets were children of Berlin. The movie is said to have become a tremendous influence on the work of Michael Powell, Alfred Hitchcock and Jacques Tourneur. M’s success ultimately led a Nazi propaganda minister to offer Lang the position of the head of The German Cinema Institute. Lang refused the offer and fled Germany for Paris. In the 1930’s, Lang immigrated to the United States under a contract with MGM. For the next 20 years, Lang worked on numerous American films before finally returning to Germany.