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also known as Dr. Mabuse, der Spieler

Dr. Mabuse the Gambler1922

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  • 4.4
A truly legendary silent film, DR. MABUSE THE GAMBLER had a major impact on the development of the crime thriller, building upon the work of the pioneering French film serialist Louis Feuillade and firmly establishing it as a significant film genre. This epic two-part tale was originally released as two separate films, respectively subtitled THE GREAT GAMBLER and INFERNO, and that format is reproduced here. The plot revolves around the pursuit of arch fiend Dr. Mabuse, a gambler, hypnotist, master of disguises and all-around criminal mastermind. Mabuse was the prototype for the sort of evil genius super-villains that would later become common in movies, whether it be in the James Bond pictures or in comic book adaptations like Superman and Batman. The film is dominated by the presence of Rudolf Klein-Rogge as Mabuse. A top German actor of the silent era, he is best known today for his performance as the mad scientist Rotwang in Lang's METROPOLIS. DR. MABUSE THE GAMBLER contains many of the elements that were expected from the crime genre at the time, including characters who slip in and out of disguise, mind control, gambling clubs, exotic women, brutal henchmen and unexpected plot twists. Lang's directorial ability to handle such pulp material in a masterful fashion, while also using it as a way to examine the decadence of Germany in the 1920s, reaffirms his status as one of the true greats of the silent era. The restoration of DR. MABUSE THE GAMBLER was conducted by the Friedrich-Wilhelm-Murnau-Stiftung using existing camera negatives from the Bundesarchiv-Filmarchiv, Berlin, and the Filmmuseum in Stadtmuseum, Munich. Featuring extra footage (which reveals more plot information, more close-ups and a decidedly more provocative and lurid atmosphere), this version is not only the longest available but the one which most closely represents director Fritz Lang's original vision.


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Member Reviews (7)

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top reviewer

It was slow slogging for me during most of the First Part. I was lost in trying to connect all the individuals and their relationships. As I tried a new approach to Part 2, I found myself intrigued by what I was seeing. I was noticing the many slight or subtle or almost hidden things the actors were doing, communicating below my level of consciousness. I admire the actors for their skills, especially against the background of their times that seemed to promote stolid and wooden performances. I now assess major praise to the director (new to me) who helped all this to occur. He couldn't have just dictated subtlety, as that wouldn't have taken. Somehow he magically allowed his actors to do their thing yet achieve the results I have seen. Despite all the furor and violence, I am left with the impression that the film is a delicate achievement - not a soft one, but a delicate one. I wearied of the sometimes slow pace, but as I adjusted the watching pace, we got together. I couldn't help but find the evil doctor quite similar to a contemporary political candidate, but I will not reveal his name. I don't think I will take this 4 1/2 hour adventure again, but I am glad I did it once.

top reviewer

I had seen the other three Mabuse films (all quite entertaining), so I figured I should finally get around to seeing the first. I didn't quite make it (gave up in the sixth act), but what I did see was quite good for the period. It hasn't aged as well as "Metropolis" or "M" because it's basically pulp fiction, and is missing the timeless quality of Lang's best known and influential works. "Mabuse the Gambler" is still better than the bulk of Lang's American output which was wildly inconsistent and hamstrung with low budgets and lesser actors, however. BTW, If you're curious to see Lang as an actor, check out "Contempt" by Godard; outstanding film and Lang is superb in it.

top reviewer

Fritz Lang's Dr Mabuse The Gambler (1922) features a super-villain that looks like he just stepped out the comic books. Dr Mabuse is a gambler, a hypnotist, a master of disguise, a criminal mastermind, What More Could You Want Out Of A Super-Villain??? This film is a crime narrative that plays as well today, as it did in 1922. It kept me engaged, and at the edge of all the way through the 4+ hours. In fact, I wish that it was even longer.

Agree with Gregory A. Save for the lack of intertitles, the film is excellent. The plot is engrossing, the sets are aesthetically riveting, the camera shots, the editing, the social critique—all astounding. I thought four hours would be difficult to get through but, for the most part, it wasn't.

Fritz Lang is just that good. From Metropolis to M to this and so many others, I love nearly every one of his films.

"Eat some cocaine, you weakling!"

Fritz Lang's first Mabuse film has it all -- killer setpieces, labyrinthine conspiracies, clever edits, impenetrable disguises, hypnosis used as a superpower, anarchist uprisings, jailhouse murders, epic gun battles, car chases, illegal gambling, disgraced noblemen, megalomaniacal villains, cocaine-addled henchmen, a critique of the Weimar Republic and those who would seek power for its own sake, and highly unethical stock market manipulations.

Though it runs an off-putting 4+ hours, it's surprising how engrossing it is, particularly for a silent film. That Fritz Lang kid? Got some talent, he does. Something tells me he's gonna be big one day...

very interstiresting