Locked away in an asylum for a decade and teetering between life and death, the criminal mastermind Doctor Mabuse (Rudolf Klein-Rogge) has scribbled his last will and testament: a manifesto establishing a future empire of crime. When the document’s nefarious writings start leading to terrifying parallels in reality, it’s up to Berlin’s star detective, Inspector Lohmann (Otto Wernicke, reprising his role from M) to connect the most fragmented, maddening clues in a case unlike any other. A sequel to his enormously successful silent film Dr. Mabuse: The Gambler, Fritz Lang’s The Testament of Dr. Mabuse reunites the director with the character that had effectively launched his career. Lang put slogans and ideas expounded by the Nazis into the mouth of a madman, warning his audience of an imminent menace, which was soon to become a reality. Nazi Minister of Information Joseph Goebbels saw the film as an instruction manual for terrorist action against the government and banned it for “endangering public order and security.” A landmark of mystery and suspense for countless espionage and noir thrillers to come, this is the complete, uncut original director’s version in a stunning new transfer. —The Criterion Collection
Born in Vienna in 1890, Fritz Lang was brought up in Viennese middle-class comfort by his Roman Catholic father Anton and his Jewish mother Paula Schleisinger who both hoped that young Fritz would become an architect. But like so many middle-class children of the new century, Lang was fascinated by the pulp and fantasy literature of his day, the art world both in and outside Vienna and a potent new form of entertainment that invited artistic scrutiny and craftsmanship, the motion picture. Though the teenaged Lang attended school as his parents wished, he secretly haunted the cafe’s and cabarets of Vienna and intended to become a painter like his idols Klimt and Schile. At aged 21 Lang’s yearning took him to Paris where he lived in Bohemian splendor until the outbreak of W.W.I. Returning to Vienna, Lang enlisted in the Austrian army where he repeatedly saw combat, was wounded at least three times and decorated twice.
It was while on leave recuperating from one of these wounds… read more
What is perhaps most unsettling about the editorial thread behind the work's plotting is that through it Lang reveals that the disturbed and aberrant thought process of Dr. Baum is more capable of drawing conclusions and taking action than the process of law and authority. Despite Lohmann's intelligence, he is once again trapped within a formal system of process that is not as advanced as those within it.
The plot is very jumbled, but shrewd viewers will be able to make sense of it. The visuals in this Expressionist piece are some of Lang's most exquisite and enthral the viewer exceptionally. This film was truly ahead of its time. The frenetic narrative and cinematography heralds the style of thrillers that Hitchcock pioneered. Not only is this film essential for any Lang fan, but any cinephile.
Decoding the dharma of Denis Lavant’s cosmic ascent to The Real World.
These notes are for Bill Ryan. One would hope that for pretty much every cinephile reading this, the object announced above (from—you'd never
Maybe you see further than I can see, or maybe things just look differently. Maybe I'm nothing but a shadow on the wall. Maybe love's a tomb
I posted a review of this film to my blog: http://bit.ly/3NnC0
A quote: The Testament of Dr. Mabuse has a lot going for it beyond the psychological sophistication of its narrative and Lang’s… read review