Ranking Foreign Directors’ English-Language Debuts from Best to Worst



With Metropolis, and M recently behind him, Austrian filmmaker Fritz Lang made waves with the Nazi party when The Testament of Dr. Mabuse was released in 1933. Concerned the film’s hypnotic story about a nefarious leader keeping an entire city in his grip would reflect poorly on the German regime, the movie was banned. Propaganda minister Joseph Goebbels admired Lang’s vision and offered him a position as head of German film studio UFA, hoping the auteur would make movies for the Nazis. Lang immediately fled the country, and thus began his American movie career. Lang started a new chapter in filmmaking with a meditation on mob mentality, Fury, starring Spencer Tracy as a man accused of a terrible crime. Lang’s Hollywood output was prolific and helped establish the darkly dramatic framework of the film noir genre.