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->''"I should say that I am a visual person. I experience with my eyes and never, or rarely, with my ears... to my constant regret."''\\
-- '''''Fritz Lang'''''

Fritz Lang (1890-1976) was an UsefulNotes/{{Austria}}n director known for his trope-making films in the Golden Age of German and Hollywood cinema. After trying first to be an architect and then a painter, Lang got into the film industry after serving in UsefulNotes/WorldWarOne, as both a writer and actor before becoming a director. In the early 1920's he met his second wife, screenwriter Thea von Harbou, who he collaborated with on all his films for the next decade. This period included ''Film/{{Metropolis}}'', ''Die Nibelungen'', the [[Film/DrMabuseTheGambler Dr. Mabuse series]], and ''Film/{{M}}'', which are probably his most famous works.

Lang left Germany when [[UsefulNotes/NaziGermany Hitler came to power]] - often claiming that he left the same night Goebbels asked him to join the Nazi party, though available evidence disputes this - and started over in Hollywood. Though Lang made significant contributions to the film noir and western genres with films like ''You Only Live Once'', ''Fury'', ''Western Union'', ''Film/TheWomanInTheWindow'', and ''The Big Heat'', he felt stifled by the restrictive studio system and returned to postwar West Germany, where he continued to make films until he went blind in the mid-1960's.

Even if you've never seen one of Fritz Lang's films, chances are that you've seen a reference to or parody of one of them, most likely ''Metropolis'' or ''M''.

!!!Films by Fritz Lang include:
* ''Halbblut'' (''Half-Blood''), 1919: directorial debut, now a [[MissingEpisode/{{Film}} Lost Film]]. A European man vacationing in Mexico falls for an opium-addicted prostitute and marries her. Once in Europe, she overhears a conversation between her husband and his best friend, where they are making racist comments about her mestizo (half-blood) ancestry. She swears revenge and starts conspiring to ruin the lives of both men.
* ''Der Herr der Liebe'' (''The Master of Love''), 1919: Second film, also lost. Another tale where a man's love and devotion to a woman brings him ruin.
* ''Die Spinnen'' (''The Spiders''), 1919-1920: An early adventure serial; only the first two parts out of four were ever filmed. Currently the earliest surviving work of Lang. A MessageInABottle reveals the existence of a LostWorld and its treasures. A sportsman from San Francisco embarks on a treasure-hunting expedition, but has to compete with the eponymous criminal organization to get there.
* ''{{Harakiri}}'' (''Madame Butterfly''), 1919: Indulging Lang's love of Japanese culture with a surprising lack of stereotypes.
* ''Das wandernde Bild'' (''The Wandering Image '', 1920: A woman attempts to flee a loveless marriage and a life of misery. Her husband comes in pursuit with a single-minded determination.
* "Vier um di Frau" ("Four Around a Woman"), 1921: A jealous husband lures the supposed lover of his wife to his residence, planning violent revenge. One of his friends and a local con-man also turn up for visits, several plot twists follow.
* ''Der Müde Tod'' (''Destiny''), 1921: Pure Expressionism.
* ''Dr Mabuse, der Spieler'' (''Film/DrMabuseTheGambler''), 1922: Introduces his recurring supervillain, Dr. Mabuse.
* ''Die Nibelungen'', 1924: Lang's five-hour-long adaptation of the ''Literature/{{Nibelungenlied}}''. Covers two parts, ''Siegfried'' and ''Kriemhild's Rache''.
* ''Film/{{Metropolis}}'', 1927: The most famous silent film of all time and codifier of countless tropes. Its influence can be seen everywhere from {{Superman}} to ''Film/BladeRunner''.
* ''Film/{{Spies}}'' (''Spione''), 1928: SpyFiction film, one of the earliest hits in the genre. Haghi, the secret head of a NebulousEvilOrganisation, learns that opposing Agent No. 326 has been tasked with bringing down his entire group. He assigns his top operative Sonja Baranikowa to gain the trust of 326, but he fails to anticipate that the two would genuinely fall for each other. Now Haghi has to get personally involved in the struggle against 326.
* ''Film/FrauImMond'' (''Woman in the Moon''), 1929: Lang's final silent, a journey to the moon with uncanny resemblances to the actual Apollo missions.
* ''Film/{{M}}'', 1931: His first talkie and one of his most famous films, about a serial child killer. He's the hero.
* ''Film/DasTestamentDesDoktorMabuse'' (1933).
* ''Liliom'' (1934).
* ''[[Film/{{Fury1936}} Fury]]'' (1936).
* ''You Only Live Once'' (1937).
* ''You and Me'' (1938).
* ''The Return of Frank James'' (1940).
* ''Western Union'' (1941).
* ''Man Hunt'' (1941).
* ''Moontide'' (1942).
* ''Hangmen Also Die!'' (1943).
* ''Ministry of Fear'' (1944).
* ''Film/TheWomanInTheWindow'' (1944).
* ''Film/ScarletStreet'' (1945).
* ''Cloak and Dagger'' (1946).
* ''Secret Beyond the Door'' (1948).
* ''House by the River'' (1950).
* ''American Guerrilla in the Philippines'' (1950).
* ''Rancho Notorious'' (1952).
* ''Clash by Night'' (1952).
* ''Film/TheBlueGardenia'' (1953).
* ''Film/TheBigHeat'' (1953).
* ''Human Desire'' (1954).
* ''Moonfleet'' (1955).
* ''While the City Sleeps'' (1956).
* ''Beyond a Reasonable Doubt'' (1956).
* ''Der Tiger von Eschnapur'' (''The Tiger of Eschnapur''), 1959.
* ''Das indische Grabmal'' (''The Indian Tomb''), 1959. Remake of a 1921 silent film co-written but not directed by Lang.
* ''Film/Die1000AugenDesDrMabuse'' (The Thousand Eyes of Dr. Mabuse), 1960. Final film directed by Lang.
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!! Tropes created, typified, or recurring in his work include:

* CreatorCameo: Supposedly his hand appears in close-up shots in most of his films; also, because Peter Lorre couldn't whistle, Lang whistled the "Hall of the Mountain King" {{leitmotif}} in ''Film/{{M}}''.
* FilmNoir: Has been called [[TropeMaker the "father" of noir]], for his having played a central role in introducing GermanExpressionism to Hollywood--without which, noir would probably never have truly existed.
* RealityIsUnrealistic: When discussing taking inspiration from news stories (see below), Lang said: "All the newspapers report human tragedies and comedies ... so fantastic, so accidental and romantic ... that no dramaturgist for a big corporation would dare to suggest such material lest he be confronted with a resounding chorus of derisory laughter at the improbable, chance, or kitschy conflicts. That's life."
* RealitySubtext: Many of his films with Thea von Harbou cast her ex-husband Rudolf Klein-Rogge (whom she left to marry Fritz) as the villain. A major plot point in ''Metropolis'' is the [[DoesThisRemindYouOfAnything work-obsessed control freak]] Joh Fredersen taking the wife of mad scientist Rotwang (played by Klein-Rogge). The statue of the (dead) wife bears suspicious similarities to Thea von Harbou, so... yeah.
* RippedFromTheHeadlines: The child serial killer in ''Film/{{M}}'' was based on real German serial killer Peter Kuerten. Also, lynch mob justice in ''Fury''. And ''You Only Live Once'' (1937) was based on [[OutlawCouple Bonnie And Clyde]], who had been gunned down just three years before that film hit the theatres.
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