Dr. Mabuse the Gambler (Dr. Mabuse, der Spieler - Ein Bild der Zeit) (Dr. Mabuse, King of Crime) (1922)
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Dr. Marbuse (Rudolf Klein-Rogge) is a crafty gambler who resorts to hypnosis to get his rival's money in a game of cards. He uses his winnings to invest in the stock market and steal a man's wife from him when he loses a bet. Marbuse also takes to counterfeiting before his schemes backfire and drive him to insanity.
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Critic Reviews for Dr. Mabuse the Gambler (Dr. Mabuse, der Spieler - Ein Bild der Zeit) (Dr. Mabuse, King of Crime)
Lang's introduction to Mabuse is typical of his early work in being disorganised and erratically paced as a narrative, but shot through with flashes of inspiration.
...a bit unwieldy in terms of structure, but it's worth the sit for the eventual flashes of Lang's visual genius.
Though disjointed and poorly paced and the plot makes little sense, there are inspirational moments throughout.
One of the silent era's best and most exciting epics, the hyper-modern Dr. Mabuse, The Gambler has scarcely aged a day in nearly ninety years.
Straightforward enough -- but also unique enough -- to provide an excellent primer to Lang's early work.
This Mabuse has only pretensions to myth; he's as mortal as they come and Lang's film slowly (very slowly) leads him down a Fibonacci-spiraled path to the one true salvation--insanity.
In Europe Mabuse is as familiar an icon of horror as Count Dracula or Frankenstein's Monster. It began here, with Dr. Mabuse, der Spieler ('...the Gambler').
This is wonderfully exuberant cinema, delighting in the possibilities of the art form.
Audience Reviews for Dr. Mabuse the Gambler (Dr. Mabuse, der Spieler - Ein Bild der Zeit) (Dr. Mabuse, King of Crime)
An ambitious tale that blends crime, mystery and horror. Starring an arch villain who lays in the same snake pit with the likes of Fu Manchu, Svengali, professor Moriarty, Fantomas and dear old Dr. Caligari. despite its excessive duration, it delivers a superb interpretation by Rudolf Klein-Rogge and the visual power of Fritz Lang, master in the creation of unnerving and nightmarish atmospheres to accentuate the twisted psyche of this peculiar and mephistophelian character.More
It's a four hour long silent film but it didn't bore me not even for a second thanks to the great story & Lang's masterful direction, One of the best & most entertaining silent films I've ever seenMore
a great silent crime epic from 1922, the original tale of dr. mabuse, brilliant psychoanalyst and criminal mastermind who uses mind control on his victims. this was highly entertaining despite being over 4 hours long. mabuse is the heir of caligari and fantomas and some say he prefigured hitler with his megalomaniacal aims. a master of disguise, he certainly inspired the bond villains. wonderful underworld atmosphere, cool effects and some nice expressionistic touches tho overall it's more realistic than many early german films. the showdown is straight up american gangster. if ur not into a 4 hour silent film, try the sequel, the testament of dr. mabuse, 1932, also well worth a watch.More
Fritz Lang's "Dr. Mabuse, the Gambler" is so full of action and suspense that you may forget that it's a silent while watching. And sure, its length is intimidating (about four hours, in two parts), but it's really no chore to sit through if you spread your viewing across two nights.
The film's familiar "supervillain" plot is still a fixture of Hollywood cinema. Dr. Mabuse (Rudolf Klein-Rogge) is a psychoanalyst whose mystical powers of mesmerism allow him to control people. This makes him a terror at baccarat, where his glaring eyes compel opponents to make losing choices. He is also a master of disguise (the film's most reliable source of fun), and thus pulls off all sorts of devilish tricks without anyone realizing they're the work of a single person. His crimes are not limited to gambling, and eventually span counterfeiting, rioting, commodities fraud and murder.
However, a crafty state attorney named Von Wenk (Bernard Goetzke) finally notices the pattern, and becomes the first authority to pose a serious threat to Mabuse's underworld reign. The battle of wits between these formidable adversaries is the story's core.
The film's daunting length is mostly due to all the extended caper sequences. The first two schemes alone span the opening 40 minutes. Subplots with two alluring women -- an exotic dancer who's an accomplice to Mabuse, and a countess who ducks Mabuse's romantic advances and helps out Von Wenk -- also chew up plenty of time. The fate of the countess's vulnerable husband becomes another important element, depicted in detail.
Where "Dr. Mabuse, the Gambler" falls short of other Lang classics is its visual imagery. Outside of one secret casino (a performance stage can lower over a retractable dealer's table at a moment's notice), the dazzling sets of films like "Metropolis" and "Die Nibelungen" are in short supply. There are a few notable effects and props -- hypnotic words superimposed over the action, a shot of Mabuse's "floating" head, a couple of laughably phallic costumes from a burlesque show, one multi-image segment with avenging ghosts -- but most scenes take place in everyday room interiors. Still, Klein-Rogge's bulging eyes are practically a special effect on their own.
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