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.
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.
"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...