The Complete Fritz Lang Mabuse Box Set
Fritz Lang's MABUSE films are among the great movie series of all time, and the complete trilogy is featured here in this collection. Included are both parts of Lang's epic 5-hour masterpiece DR. MABUSE: THE GAMBLER. The director/screenwriter deftly evokes the soiled and shoddy world of crime-infested and inflation-racked post World War I Berlin in the first installment. Employing his supreme powers of disguise and hypnosis, Dr. Mabuse (Rudolf Klein-Rogge) surrounds himself with loyal servants and criminal henchmen who assassinate his rivals, manipulate the stock market and seduce wealthy citizens out of their riches. The dark and mystical adventure of the criminal mastermind careens towards its stylised climax in the second installment.
The tenuous and terrified atmosphere of Germany on the eve of Nazi ascendancy is cleverly evoked in Lang's sequel to the 1922 film, THE TESTAMENT OF DR. MABUSE (1933). The film opens with Detective Hofmeister (Karl Meixner) spying on the activities of a criminal syndicate. Not realising 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. As all of the characters speed chaotically towards the film's dark climax, the idea of a madman controlling a mass of hypnotised people and causing them to commit crimes that he premeditates creates a mystical and simultaneously potent political allegory of Lang's time.
Back in Germany for the first time since 1933, Lang returned to the screen character that brought him enormous success in his pre-Hollywood years. THE THOUSAND EYES OF DR.MABUSE (1960) is not so much a sequel as an extension of Lang's early Mabuse films. Set in 1960, the film begins with a series of unsolved murders in a Berlin hotel. The modus operandi of the murderer is the same as that of long-dead megalomaniac Dr. Mabuse. Police detective Gert Frobe and amateur sleuths Peter Van Eyck and Dawn Addams suspect that the killer is a man who believes that he is the reincarnation of Mabuse. Could the culprit be secretive insurance salesman Werner Peters, or blind seer Wolfgang Preiss?