Hungarian actor Peter Lorre made his film debut as Hans Beckart in the 1931 Fritz Lang film "M". The character of Hans Beckart was based on real serial killer Peter Kurten, who was beheaded right about the time this film was coming out. (Weird.) With enormous bulging eyes, disheveled hair and begging on his knees, Lorre gave a frenzied and incredible speech to a violently hungry lynch mob. A spectacular range of emotions burst forth from Lorre showing his tremendous acting ability. From guilt, terror, excitement, frustration, sorrow, disappointment, contemplation, madness and delight, Lorre fantastically switches tones within seconds.
"But I can't help it. I can’t… I really can’t…. help it! What would you know? What are you talking about? Who are you anyway? Who are you? All of you. Criminals. Probably proud of it, too- proud you can crack a safe or sneak into houses or cheat at cards. All of which it seems to me you could just as easily give up if you learned something useful, or if you had jobs or if you weren’t such lazy pigs. But me? Can I do anything about it? Don’t I have this cursed thing inside me? This fire, this voice, this agony? I have to roam the streets endlessly, always sensing that someone’s following me. It’s me! I’m shadowing myself! Silently…. But I still hear it! Yes, sometimes I feel like I’m tracking myself down. I want to run- run away from myself! But I can’t! I can’t escape from myself! I must take the path that it’s driving me down and run and run down endless streets! I want off! I want off! And with me run the ghosts of the mothers and children. They never go away. They’re always there! Always! Always! Always! Except… when I’m doing it… when I…. Then I don’t remember a thing. Then I’m standing before a poster, reading what I’ve done. I read and read… I did that? I don’t remember a thing! But who will believe me? Who knows what it’s like inside me? How it screams and cries out inside me when I have to do it! Don’t want to! Must! Don’t want to! Must! And then the voice cries out, and I can’t listen anymore! Help! I can’t! I can’t! I can’t! I can’t!”