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dr. mabuse
(1922)

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dr mabuse

dr mabuse

d r .   m a b u s e : t h e   g a m b l e r  ]

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dr mabuse


cast | making | books | dvds | posters | videos
dr. mabuse
fritz lang | dr mabuse | m
frank capra | jean cocteau | alfred hitchcock | f.w. murnau
beauty & the beast | cabinet of dr caligari | the third man
marlene dietrich | greta garbo
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    Credits:

  • directed: Fritz Lang, 1927
  • production: Uco-Film, Berlin
  • screenplay:
      Thea von Harbou. Based on the novel by Norbert Jacques, serialized in the Berliner Illustr. Zeitung
  • photography: Carl Hoffmann
  • art direction:
      Stahl-Urach (died during the filming of Part I), Otto Hunte
  • associates: Erich Kettelhut, Karl Vollbrecht
  • costumes: Vally Reinecke
  • filmed: Bioscop-Atelier, Neubabelsberg
  • released:
      Part I, April 27, 1922; Part II, May 26, 1922 (UFA-Palast am Zoo)
  • length: 3496 meters
    lang

    Cast:

  • Rudolf Klein-Rogge (Dr. Mabuse)
  • Alfred Abel (Count Told)
  • Aud Egede Nissen (Cara Carozza)
  • Gertrude Welcker (Countess Lucy Told)
  • Bernhard Goetzke (Chief Inspector von Wenck)
  • Forster Larrinaga (Secretary Sporri)
  • Paul Richter (Edgar Hull)
  • Hans Adalbert von Schlettow (Mabuse's chauffeur, Georg)
  • Georg John (Pesch)
  • Grete Berger (Fine, a servant)
  • Julius Falkenstein (Karsten, Wenck's friend)
  • Lydia Potechina (Russian woman)
  • Anita Barber (dancer)
  • Paul Biensfeldt (man with revolver)
  • Karl Platen (Told's servant)
  • Karl Huszar (Hawasch)
  • Edgar Pauly (fat spectator)
  • Julius Hermann (Schramm)
  • Auguste Prasch-Grevenberg
  • Julie Brandt
  • Gustave Botz
  • Leonard Haskel
  • Erner Hubsch
  • Gottfried Huppertz
  • Adolf Klein
  • Erich Pabst
  • Hans Sternberg
  • Olaf Storm
  • Erich Walter
  • Heinrich Gotho
  • Willy Schmidt-Gentner


    lang

    d r .   m a b u s e  :   s e n s a t i o n f i l m

    Dr. Mabuse Smartphones Page

    Fritz Lang's two-part Sensationfilm, Dr. Mabuse, Der Spieler (The Gambler) and Inferno, Menschen der Zeit (Inferno, People of the Time), mirrored the social anguish of Germany in the early 1920s, a fact which did not escape German critics of the period who looked upon Dr. Mabuse as a document of the time.

    The murder of Foreign Minister Walther Rathenau by fanatic nationlists in June, 1922, a month after the release of Dr. Mabuse, signaled the beginning of a "witches' sabbath of inflation." All values were destroyed as the exchange rate of the mark soared to infinity and unemployment mounted. Lang remembered a poster in Berlin which summed up the nihilistic stated of mind: Berlin, sein Tanzer is der Tod (Berlin, your dancing partner is Death). Lang reflected:

      "For Germany the period after the First World War was a time of of deepest despair, hysteria, poverty existed alongside swollen new wealth. At that time, Berlin coined the word 'Raffke,' from the raking up of money. 'Raffke' was applied to the nouveau riche. Dr. Mabuse is the prototype of this time. He is a gambler. He plays cards. He plays roulette. He plays with people and their fates. Because he does not believe in deep feelings, he tells a woman he loves: 'There is no love; there is only desire.' He plays with the lives of these people, and he plays with death,"

    Dr. Mabuse was impersonated by Rudolf Klein-Rogge, the former husband of Thea von Harbou, Lang's wife and scenarist. Klein-Rogge described Mabuse as:

      " the exponent of the decaying Europe, armed with the dangerous knowledge of the civilization of his continent. He rises consciously in order to strike a breach into the moral uniformity of his time but less for the sake of material advantage. He wants to be a guiding force, a creator, if only indestruction. In a word, his objective is power, which in our time has been transferred from the individual to the collective."

    Mabuse was the creation of Norbert Jacques whose serialized story of a master criminal was adapted for the screen by von Harbou. The film opens with the devious Dr. Mabuse reaping an enormous profit at the stock exchange. Disguised as Hugo Balling, he goes to the Folies Bergeres in order to meet Edgar Hall, a wealthy man about town. On stage Cara Carozza, Mabuse's mistress and agent, performs a celebrant dance between two colossal Mardi Gras-like heads decorated with huge phallic noses. Hull observes the performance in his box, unaware he is being hypnotized by Mabuse. Later that evening Mabuse accompanies Hull, now hypnotized, to a Spielklub - a gambling club - where he cheats the young man at cards.

    A few days later Hull is visited by Public Prosecutor Wenck who suspects that Mabuse, the Great Unknown, is the man who cheated him. Hull agrees to coperate with Wenck while occupied by amorous thoughts of the exotic Cara Carozza.

    lang dr. mabuse, der spieler
    1922

    Eventually Wenck, himself disguised, confronts Mabuse in a Spielklub, but successfully resists the power of his hypnotic gaze. Mabuse flees from the club but is resolved to destroy the detective and young Hull. Hull is murdered outside Das Petit Casino by one of Mabuse's agents. Wenck jails Cara as an accessory, but she refuses to reveal the identity of her evil employer and lover. Later, Cara commits suicide in the belief that she has been deserted by Mabuse.

    A man of violent passion, Mabuse kidnaps the Countess Told, who has aided Wenck in his investigations. In an effort to destroy the detective, Mabuse, disguised as Professor Weltmann, a pschoanalyst, hypnotizes Wenck at a public lecture and commands him to drive his automobile off an enbankment, but Wenck is saved at the last moment by the police. Mabuse has meanwhile removed Countess Told to his lavish head quarters, where a gun battle ensues with the police. Erich Pommer recalled that he:

      "never sensed such a current of excitement in an audience as at the premiere of Inferno, the second part of Dr. Mabuse, when Mabuse's secret hideout was wiped out by the combined efforts of the police and the army. "

    Mabuse's accomplices are arrested, but Mabuse escapes to the workshop of his counterfeiter via the sewer tunnels. When Wenck and his officers enter the subterranean hideaway, they find Mabuse squatting on a heap of forged notes, hopelessly insane.

    Critics were inclined to favor Dr. Mabuse to any of Lang's previous works with the possible exception of Der mude Tod (Destiny), released the previous year in 1921. Writing in Der Kinematograph, Frank Olimsky wrote that the artistry of Lang's direction had established "just the right breathtaking tempo." Olimsky remembered especially:

      "the lecture of the hypnotist followed by the frantic car chase through a nocturnal forest (the photographic climax of Part II). Even more memorable is the final struggle against Mabuse, a street battle which is staged with the most modern tactics. In all this there is never the slightest hint of Kitsch."

    Dr. Mabuse was perhaps the greatest of all Lang's German films in the genre of the master criminal. The popular and critical acclaim accorded Dr. Mabuse established Fritz Lang as a major force in the German film.


    Notes:

    The film is in two parts. Part One is subtitled A portrait of our time and Part Two Inferno characters of the time and the running time for both films is five hours. I mention this because there are shorter versions of the film available in which both parts are edited together. Be careful with these because they leave out many of the pivotal scenes.

    The marketing strategy used to sell Dr Mabuse would point the way forward for the movie industry through its use of a multimedia advertising campaign. The film's premiere was timed to coincide with a serialisation of the novel with one being used to promote the other.


    Verdict:

    A masterpiece. The one silent film by Lang that is a must see.

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cast | making | books | dvds | posters | videos
dr. mabuse
fritz lang | dr mabuse | m
frank capra | jean cocteau | alfred hitchcock | f.w. murnau
beauty & the beast | cabinet_of_dr_caligari | the third man
marlene dietrich | greta garbo

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