"That's a nice ball you have," Beckert says to a child he needs to molest and kill. Lorre, the little round man with the large knowing eyes, came to prominence playing a Berlin child murderer pursued by police and, more effectively, by the city's underworld. In a trial convened by the gangs, Beckert pleads for understanding: "I can't help what I do!... I'm pursued by ghosts. Ghosts of mothers and of those children. They never leave me. They are always there always, always, always except when I do it, when I . Then I can't remember anything." Writer Thea von Harbou and director Fritz Lang managed sympathy for the devil without diluting the horror of his crimes.