Wednesday, November 14, 2007

The Testament of Dr. Mabuse (1933)

Fritz Lang directed this sequel to his nearly four-hour Dr. Mabuse silent of 1922 (often shown in two parts, Dr. Mabuse: Der Spieler/The Gambler and Dr. Mabuse: King of Crime). The film opens with Detective Hofmeister (Karl Meixner) spying on the activities of a criminal syndicate. Not realizing he has been seen, Hofmeister is attacked by the thugs and later turns up out of his mind. He is placed in the institution of Professor Baum (Oscar Beregi), who becomes increasingly obsessed with another patient -- the master criminal and hypnotist Dr. Mabuse (Rudolf Klein-Rogge). Baum's assistant, Dr. Kramm (Theodor Loos), connects Mabuse's writings to a series of the syndicate's recent criminal activities, and is murdered for his knowledge by crime lord Hardy (Rudolf Sch√ľndler) who takes orders from a hidden Mabuse. Putting all these pieces together is chief investigator Lohmann (Otto Wernicke), whose story plays out simultaneously with that of ex-cop Thomas Kent (Gustav Diessl), a member of the gang who is torn between his need for money and his love for a young woman named Lilli (Wera Liessem). Various clues lead Lohmann to suspect Mabuse's involvement, but when he arrives at the asylum, Baum reveals that Mabuse has died. Meanwhile, Kent's decision to confess to the cops lands himself and Lilli in a room with a hidden bomb. Lohmann traps the gang in a moll's house, leading to a wild shootout. Kent and Lilli escape and race to Lohmann to tell him that Mabuse is behind the crimes. They all race back to the asylum where they discover that Mabuse has taken control of Baum, who sets a monstrous fire at a chemical factory. The mad doctor then leads Lohmann and Kent on a wild car chase back to the asylum where the mystery behind the Baum-Mabuse-Hofmeister connection takes a disturbing turn. ~ Patrick Legare, All Movie Guide

Running Time: 121 mins
The Testament of Dr. Mabuse (1933)
A classic Fritz Lang movie where a driver is killed by another cars passenger and then when the light changes all the cars that could identify the killer drive off. This time he uses the honking of cars to drown out the noise of the gun while in another one it was a silent blow-dart gun or something like that. The other film where he uses or specifically reuses this plot twist is in The Thousand Eyes of Dr. Mabuse.

Lang uses the concept of rhymes to link scenes and acts together where one question leads to another scene that answers that question for the viewer but not necessarily the actors parts in the movie. He also used sound to merge or overlap scenes. While if the sound in the new scene blends into the action can be most appealing, movies like Tarzan Lord of the Jungle with Bo Derek was a complete waste of a movie plot with the sound overlapping with the next incongruent scene.

The Empire of Crime:
Humanity's soul must be shaken to its very depths, frightened by unfathomable and seemingly senseless crimes. Crimes that benefit no one, whose only objective is to inspire fear and terror. Because the ultimate purpose of crime is to establish the endless empire of crime. A state of complete insecurity an anarchy, founded upon the tainted ideals of a world doomed to annihilation. When humanity, subjected by the terror of crime, has been driven insane by fear and horror, and when chaos has become supreme law, then the time will have come for the empire of crime.


The narrator did make me laugh at his description of Lilli in the film. An observation I also made but not as humorously. Even though it was a bit part I liked the part of the gangsters girlfriend that at one time gives Lohen a snaring glance when the gang is taken past Lohen after he fools the gang into giving up.

Interesting that Bill Gates and George Soros were identified as Mabuse like, that is according to the narrator (David Kalat).


The Testament of Dr. Mabuse

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