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Fritz Lang

The Nature of the Beast

2013
Author:

Patrick McGilligan

Fritz Lang

The definitive life of the dark genius who gave us M and Metropolis—a New York Times Notable Book

Patrick McGilligan, placed among “the front rank of film biographers” by the Washington Post, spent four years in Europe and America interviewing Fritz Lang’s dying contemporaries, researching government and film archives, and investigating the intriguing life story of the visionary director. Ultimately, this critically acclaimed biography reconstructs the compelling, flawed human being behind the monster with the monocle.

As definitive a Lang as we are likely to get: entertaining, appalling, persuasive.

Steven Bach, L.A. Weekly Literary Supplement

The name of Fritz Lang—the visionary director of Metropolis, M, Fury, The Big Heat, and thirty other unforgettable films—is hallowed the world over. But what lurks behind his greatest legends and his genius as a filmmaker? Patrick McGilligan, placed among “the front rank of film biographers” by the Washington Post, spent four years in Europe and America interviewing Lang’s dying contemporaries, researching government and film archives, and investigating the intriguing life story of Fritz Lang. This critically acclaimed biography—lauded as one of the year’s best nonfiction books by Publishers Weekly—reconstructs the compelling, flawed human being behind the monster with the monocle.

Fritz Lang

Patrick McGilligan is the author of several definitive biographies, including Alfred Hitchcock: A Life in Darkness and Light and George Cukor: A Double Life (Minnesota, 2013), a New York Times Notable Book.

Fritz Lang

As definitive a Lang as we are likely to get: entertaining, appalling, persuasive.

Steven Bach, L.A. Weekly Literary Supplement

A beast Lang certainly was. . . . McGilligan, with ferocious research and a touch of wonder—throughout, he seems to be shaking his head in fascination—spreads [his] elements before us: the quasi-diabolist artist, the sadistic perfectionist with his actors, the fervent devotee of truth, the twister of facts, the elegant immoralist, the indefatigable amorist, the disturbing seer into the giant maladies of his epoch. McGilligan’s passion and thoroughness make his Lang biography a permanent resource.

Stanley Kauffmann, New York Times Book Review

All in all, Fritz Lang: The Nature of the Beast does a fantastic job of teasing out the legend from the fact, and painting a complete portrait of Fritz Lang. In the end, this book is a weighty tome—as weighty as Lang’s career—and an excellent addition to the scholarship of Fritz Lang.

Brandy Dean, Pretty Clever Films

Patrick McGilligan’s nearly 500-page treatment of the elusive, demonstrative German director seemingly spares no detail, chronicling Lang’s entire life with a precision that transcends merely ticking off facts in chronological fashion, and more interestingly, revels in the director’s off-screen faults just as frequently as he applauds the on-screen brilliance.

Clayton Dillard, Slant Magazine

The research behind The Nature of the Beast is impressive and capably threaded into a narrative of the director’s life and films.

Dave Luhrssen, Shepherd Express

Fritz Lang