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The author presents his methodical-theoretical concept of significant film variation, which permits an understanding of the variation of a film as a process of standardization. The concept makes it possible to determine the standard a film is adapted to, and to explain why the film is adapted in a particular way to this standard. With the help of this concept, considerable progress in understanding the puzzle of different versions of M (Nero, 1931) can be made. The best-known, worldwide version of M is an aesthetic and political variation of the film from 1931. This variation was probably produced by the newly founded Nero in the Federal Republic of Germany in 1959 for the reasons given in this article.
Film History © 1990 Indiana University Press