Dr. Mabuse, a sinister psychologist, criminal kingpin, and master of disguise, toys with the weaknesses of the rich and influential. Soon, he attracts the attention of a star police inspector, who hounds his “mystery man” across Berlin.
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2000 restoration. Essential cinema representing one of Lang's most vital contributions to film history. Even at 4 1/2 hours this film never ceases to thrill with nary a frame wasted. Rudolf Klein-Rogge as Mabuse is one of the all time great adversaries here facing Bernhard Goetzke's Inspector Von Wenck. Fantastic story with a film lanquage that stood at the top of its form for the time period. Great silent.
Mabuse, master of disguises, manipulates the stock market, cheats at cards, controls people's minds, and prints up enough bogus currency to devalue the Deutsche Mark, all at once! "Spiel ist spiel!" The Murnau Foundation restoration of this important classic is a treat for silent film fans, with dialogue restored by accessing censor's records. "A taste of decadence fuels the soul!"
There's a saying about poker: if you haven't identified the sucker, then you're the sucker. Lots of suckers in this decadent period in German history. This Mabuse guy is pretty darn crafty with the mind control and eyes of a vampire. The law is after him, but he manages to stay one step ahead.
Though I can't say I was ever bored, I do think the film could easily shave off 30 minutes from its running time. On the other hand, the high points more than make up for this slight criticism with special mention to the first encounter between Mabuse and the detective as my favorite scene. I also can't help but compare the way the henchmen describe and fear Mabuse to the way all religious radicalism speak.
The first part of a trilogy that Lang would work on until the end of his career, DR. MABUSE, THE GAMBLER is an epic paranoid thriller about a criminal mastermind who uses hypnosis to manipulate the stock market and high stakes gambling. More subtle than other German Expressionist films, this was a direct inspiration for the film noir genre. Overlong (at 4 hours), but still engrossing and atmospheric.
The longest version of this runs at about 270min (with both parts combined), not 242min as is listed here. Also, might be tricky to least regardless considering silent film depends on the speed it's being projected at (anyways, I'm guessing the running times are based of their digital transfers, right?).