In his autobiography "Timebends," Arthur Miller speculates that his unconscious mind picked the name "Loman" for Willy Loman, the protagonist of his greatest play, "Death of a Salesman" (1947), from the name of Kriminalkomissar Lohmann in "Das Testament das Dr. Mabuse." See more »
Hofmeister supposedly scratches Mabuse's name in a window pane of his apartment with a ring, but Hofmeister is not wearing any rings when Division 2-B enter his apartment. See more »
Fritz Lang brings in the visual artistry he developed in his silent movies. The first Dr Mabuse movie (the Gambler) was a series of portrait of that evil genius. He would direct crimes like Fritz Lang directs his movies. He is successful and as we get closer to that astounding character we see him want even more than all the money his crimes can draw. That is love. And that's the hinge factor. With the end of his crime empire the genius has become a lunatic with a fixed stare.
So Dr. Mabuse has been in a lunatic asylum for 10 years and everybody forgot him as they thought there would be nothing to fear any more. It is where The Testament of Dr Mabuse starts. The very beginning is like a silent movie: Lang uses an old factory as the haunt of criminals (the Gambler's haunt was already fantastic). The only sound comes from the oppressing machines. An ambiance you felt with the workers of Metropolis. That is only the beginning of a masterful suspense overture.
Hence Lang goes through different story lines, one too much maybe but everything revolves around the lunatic asylum. On the other hand the story may lack the overwhelming presence of Rudolf Kleine-Rogge in the Gambler. Anyway I think Lang understood he could not rely on the pictures as much as what he did with silent movies. The converging stories reach a fantastic climax and to get there much of the visual quality gets you in the movie, either wanting to know more or fearing what may come out.
Goebbels feared what may come out. The movie about a crime master writing crime recipes in his cell may have been too close to the story of Hitler writing Mein Kampf while in jail. A vision strengthened by the criminal's last words. Called by Goebbels to be explained the reasons why the movie would not be released, Fritz Lang listened the propaganda minister -a great fan of Metropolis- putting his name forward for the head of the Reich cinema department. Lang objected his mother was jewish. "WE will decide who's jewish and who's not!" answered Goebbels. The same evening Lang had gathered all the cash he could and took the train to Paris.
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