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The Testament of Dr. Mabuse (1933)

Das Testament des Dr. Mabuse (original title)
Not Rated | | Crime | 1 January 1933 (USA)
A new crime wave grips the city and all clues seem to lead to the nefarious Dr. Mabuse, even though he has been imprisoned in a mental asylum for nearly a decade.

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(characters), | 1 more credit »
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Cast

Cast overview, first billed only:
...
...
Thomas Kent
...
Hardy
Oskar Höcker ...
Bredow
...
...
Juwelen-Anna
...
Lithograph / Litographer
...
...
Dr. Kramm
Hadrian Maria Netto ...
Nicolai Griforiew (as Hadrian M. Netto)
Paul Bernd ...
Erpresser / Blackmailer
Henry Pleß ...
Bulle
Adolf E. Licho ...
Dr. Hauser
...
Prof. Dr. Baum (as Oscar Beregi)
Wera Liessem ...
Lilli
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Storyline

Berlin police inspector Lohmann investigates a case, in which all clues lead to a man, who's in a hospital for mental illnesses for since many years - Dr. Mabuse. Written by Stephan Eichenberg <eichenbe@fak-cbg.tu-muenchen.de>

Plot Summary | Add Synopsis

Taglines:

In His Warped and Evil Brain the Lust to KILL...KILL...KILL! (1952 re-release) See more »

Genres:

Crime

Certificate:

Not Rated | See all certifications »
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Details

Country:

Language:

Release Date:

1 January 1933 (USA)  »

Also Known As:

The Crimes of Dr. Mabuse  »

Filming Locations:

 »

Company Credits

Production Co:

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Technical Specs

Runtime:

Sound Mix:

(Tobis-Klangfilm)

Aspect Ratio:

1.20 : 1
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Did You Know?

Trivia

Fritz Lang, who was fluent in French, simultaneously shot a French-language version under the title "Le Testament du Docteur Mabuse." The German cast members who were not fluent in French were replaced with French-speaking actors. Rudolf Klein-Rogge had his dialog replaced with an early form of dubbing. See more »

Goofs

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 »

Quotes

[first lines]
Inspector Lohmann: "Magic Fire Music," old man.
[whistles]
Inspector Lohmann: 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.
See more »

Connections

Referenced in The Godfather (1972) See more »

Soundtracks

Die Walküre (The Valkyries)
(1856) (uncredited)
Written by Richard Wagner
Portion hummed by Klaus Pohl
See more »

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User Reviews

Viewer Possession
11 October 2008 | by See all my reviews

(This comment is on the fully restored Criterion edition.)

I see that my comments on the Mabuse films have been deleted. There was an IMDb era when any offended reader could exact revenge by successfully complaining of scores of comments. But I guess that's apt for the aura of this film, its history of being suppressed and its themes.

I find watching Lang movies to be frustrating. His most celebrated films: "Metropolis" and "M" don't resonate with me as they do with others. Even though they have effective scenes, they are effective not because they are cinematic, but because they are masterful stagecraft. After Lang went to Hollywood, claiming this to be anti-Hitler, his films turned mechanical.

It was only with this project that he hits my sweet spot, where his attentions are turned to all the elements of the cinematic art. This is whole, and innovative in every element. Others may find the many plots overloaded and in some cases turgid. But I think the density of story is essential to the elegant narrative tricks that this uses - all of them rooted in the film as film.

We have, possibly for the first time, non-linear narrative designed in a way to confuse the viewer so that we are inserted as detective, actively engaged in watching merely to make sense of what we see. The thing is envisioned as a whole with many reflections, many cycles, many connections between scenes and jumping among scenes. Images, sounds, ideas, characters contrast with and merge with each other. Its a tight fabric with so many junctions we can navigate as we wish, or as we have skills.

Yes, there are ordinary pleasures, too: amazing effects shots, one of the best chase scenes ever filmed, some very fine use of grime. But they re merely incidental to the way that this symphony is constructed and executed. This is one of the few films in my experience that gets bigger the more you learn about its provenance: the infidelities between the filmmaker and his screenwriter wife; the business with Hilter, much obfuscated by later Lang claims and the notion that he would do so. The original novel, The previous and subsequent Lang Mabuse films and their failings, indeed the breakage of his career. The many incarnations of this film on its way to us.

The way it overtly is written to influence, containing a story about writing that influences. The way it deceives on the screen, containing a story about deception behind a "screen."

The sex, as it penetrates the whole thing without ever being shown. The fact that although you can see it as having historical significance, you can still after 75 years see it as a modern, immediately effective experience from a man that for one year actually mattered. Still does.

Ted's Evaluation -- 4 of 3: Every cineliterate person should experience this.


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