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Archives on the Air 290: Film Noir Director – Fritz Lang papers

It was a World War I war injury that led to Fritz Lang’s first idea for a screen play. Lang got his start in filmmaking in Berlin. He was known for using Expressionist techniques, including wildly non-realistic set designs and melodramatic storylines.

Some consider him to be one of the fathers of film noir. His first film with sound, M, was a crime thriller. The plot followed a serial killer and the manhunt for him.

Lang’s success as a screenwriter and director in Germany drew the attention of Joseph Goebbels, who tried to persuade Lang to make Nazi propaganda films. Appalled by the idea of working for the Nazis, Lang fled to Paris and then eventually to Los Angeles. He found work as a script writer and director for MGM. His first American film was Fury, an indictment of lynching, starring Spencer Tracy.

You can read Fritz Lang’s papers at UW’s American Heritage Center.