This movie was banned by the Nazi Regime in 1933. According to Fritz Lang, Joseph Goebbels, Minister of Propaganda, invited him for a meeting. Goebbels said himself and Hitler counted Lang's earlier movies as their favourites, notably Die Nibelungen: Siegfried (1924), Die Nibelungen: Kriemhild's Revenge (1924) and Metropolis (1927). However, they did not like his latest movies that much. The reasons are simple: M (1931) and The Testament of Dr. Mabuse (1933) could be interpreted as metaphors of the rising Nazi ideology. The former depicts an underground evil organisation replacing the police and the latter shows an insane leader of organised crime using Nazi slogans. Despite this, because of his reputation and skills, Goebbels offered Lang to be an official movie director of the Nazi regime. Lang said he would think about it. Lang later stated that he fled that same evening for Paris without being able to withdraw his money from the bank. Actually, he did leave, but later on after organising his trip. And as we know he eventually left France for the USA. One anecdote was mentioned by Lang, but it is impossible to know if it is true or not. After Goebbels made his proposal, Lang replied: "But you must know my mother was Jewish", to which Goebbels replied: "We decide who is Jewish or not!" 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 »
"Magic Fire Music," old man.
You know that one, Müller? That's from "Die Walküre". Those are the girls who carry dead police inspectors directly up to heaven from the Alexanderplatz with a "Hey ho." On horseback.
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During the early years of sound films before dubbing and subtitling, one way to present a film to a foreign audience was to record the film with a translated screenplay with foreign-language cast. As this was a time consuming and expensive procedure, most filmmakers who did this tended to only make one alternative language feature. Producer Seymour Nebenzal felt that creating this alternative version would enhance international sales for The Testament of Dr. Mabuse. The French-language screenplay was adapted by René Sti. Lang was fluent in French and directed The Testament of Dr. Mabuse in both French and German. Actor Karl Meixner played Hofmeister in both versions of the film as he was bilingual. Rudolf Klein-Rogge also features as Mabuse in the French version with his lines being dubbed. The French version, titled Le Testament du Dr. Mabuse, was edited by Lothar Wolff in France while the film was still in production. See more »
Fritz Lang's Das TESTAMENT des Dr.MABUSE is a mesmerising, master-crafted entertainment which no serious movie freak will have missed. The largely forgotten, parallel French version, filmed simultaneously with a French speaking cast, is like most of these foreign versions, a poor relation. I'm glad I saw the German one first - twice in a week as it happens.
Shorter than the German film, it truncates the lovers subplot and plays it with colourless juveniles, omits the giant eye make up shots of Klein Rogge, which re-call Dr. Baum's art collection and, worse, attempts to up the pace by chopping off the fade out scene transitions - giving correctly, the impression that there is something missing.
The German cast is uniformly superior, with the possible exception of the jolly, frankfurter-cooking henchman, who does manage to make an impression. Jim Gerald was a comedian - effectively so in CHAPEAU de PAILEE d'ITALIE and FRENCH WITHOUT TEARS - and he lacks the monolith menace that Wernike provides. Thommy Bordelle is normally an unimposing performer and, giving it his best shot, he's still no fair swap for the the great Oscar Beregei, in the one circulating film where we get to hear Beregei's voice. The French Dr. Kramm (who is he?), in particular, is out classed by Theodore Loos (the secretary from METROPOLIS among other stand-out performances).
Well it's still Lang's Mabuse film and remains intermittently effective - Hoffmeister's vision of Lohman's entry into his see through cell is still a grabber - and it is another piece of the jig saw and another, if minor, Lang movie. So nice to get to see it after all these years.
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