Dr. Mabuse the Gambler (Dr. Mabuse, der Spieler - Ein Bild der Zeit) (Dr. Mabuse, King of Crime) - Movie Reviews - Rotten Tomatoes

Dr. Mabuse the Gambler (Dr. Mabuse, der Spieler - Ein Bild der Zeit) (Dr. Mabuse, King of Crime) Reviews

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Super Reviewer
March 5, 2008
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.
Super Reviewer
½ August 23, 2009
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 seen
Super Reviewer
May 20, 2008
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.
Super Reviewer
March 17, 2008
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.
Super Reviewer
September 6, 2008
I would never, ever, ever, ever, ever watch this again and the fact that I made it through it to begin with is an act of God, but everything from the effects to the intricate plot is extremely impressive.
½ October 5, 2013
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.
March 18, 2011
Altogether interesting, but occasionally I wanted to slap characters for being so easily hypnotized. But that's just me.
April 25, 2008
Great crime thriller with a supernatural edge given to the title villain just to keep you guessing. Rudolf Klein-Rogge is well cast.
½ February 17, 2008
A little long for my taste but a nice film of a crime lord with many disguises and hypnotic trances. Very creepy atmosphere.
½ March 30, 2015
It's wonderful to finally see Lang's first Dr. Mabuse film in it's original 4 1/2 hour cut. It's certainly a huge investment of time, but I found this to be an extremely rewarding experience. The film isn't as visually extravagant as "Metropolis", but there's some magnificent imagery here and a wonderful aura of corruption and Weimar sleaze. There's a tendency to associate silent films with broad, out-sized flamboyant acting, but I was struck by how reserved the performances really are here and by some of the incredible economy in the narrative (odd to say for a film that takes half a day to watch, but it's quite episodic and is more like a serial than a feature film). The only downside is that the copy airing on Netflix has some pretty extreme problems with interlacing that detracted a bit from the experience.
January 12, 2015
Four hours silent film sounds horrible? Though the pace itself never becomes a bother, because the great characteristics Lang created. Dr Mabuse is dealing with the dark and mystic nature of the early development of so called psychoanalysis. Telepathic mind-controlling.
½ June 30, 2013
The character clearly suffered from the limitations of the technology of the time, and the pacing was atrocious, given that it was four and a half hours long.
June 2, 2013
A frente de seu tempo, como muitos outros clŠssicos expressionistas.
April 6, 2013
Dr. Mabuse contains the typical great traits of a Fritz Lang film. The story is intresting, the actors do a great job, and Dr. Mabuse himself is a fantastic character. There are many wonderful things about the film, but it's held back by a length, that makes it a tough watch. There is simply too much going on, and it's rather confusing to follow in part one. Part two however is simply amazing. It's too long overall, but still a great film.
April 1, 2012
Insanely hypnotic and complex. Personally, I believe this is in the top 5 greatest achievements during the silent film era. Absolutely unforgettable. Essential Fritz Lang.
May 22, 2012
No one is safe from this mesmeric master of disguise. Director Fritz Lang's silent serial casts the sinister-looking Rudolf Klein-Rogge as a criminal genius. He's a blight on Weimar Germany's wealthy populace, cheating at cards to finance his larcenous schemes and indulging in kidnapping and murder when it suits him. But he's also a direct result of the era's excesses, a malefactor twisting the reigning order to his own nefarious purposes. Lang would pointedly return to this diabolical character in two subsequent films‚"1933's The Testament of Dr. Mabuse and 1960's The 1,000 Eyes of Dr. Mabuse‚"that likewise placed him in counterpoint to charged historical moments
April 2, 2012
Dr Mabuse the gambler part 1 mmg fast pace ,visualnya lazat dan terasa modern. All hail silent films!!
March 20, 2012
I feel like I've earned a thumbs up alone for watching this 4 1/2 hour silent film.
Normally, films of such length are epics with huge sets, big battles and vast landscape shots.
Dr. Mabuse is essentially a character study.

This is by far the most elaborate silent film I've seen so far - with many many intertitles to develop the characters and the plot. And it definitely needs its time to fully treat its subject.

Klein-Rogge stands out as the eponymous villain, his masks and disguises are as impressive as his acting. He is amazing and he needs to be if you take into account how much the film depends on his character.

Lang was again ahead of his time (like in every genre he has worked) - it's groundbreaking and influenced psychological thrillers and character studies for years to come.

Mabuse is a notorious gambler. He plays with human beings and fates. His addiction is most prominently depicted in two scenes with the two ladies (Cara Carozza and Gršfin Told) of the movie who both point out that his gambling will create repercussions someday.

Also impressive is the way Lang lets his protagonist get away with his crimes over and over again - he's the bad guy but for about 4 hours it looks like he'll succeed. Evil has the upper hand for a good part of the film which is remarkable for a film of this period.
Mabuse counterfeits, creates havoc at the stock market and consequently ruins the economy and his ability to control the minds of others is Lang's response to the main problems and fears of post-war Germany.

Of course it's long and you need some dedication to endure it but it's also quite sophisticated (especially for a silent) and it needs its time to develop and there are merely any meaningless scenes.
Fritz Lang yet again shows that he's a master of dramaturgy, symbols and storytelling.
½ April 29, 2011
A very good silent film by Fritz Lang although overlong.
April 18, 2011
A real psychological thriller. The tense direction, coupled with the menacing Klein-Rogge, one can sense the descent into madness experienced by all of the characters. The film has a tendency to drag on, being almost four hours, but split into two parts, you can enjoy them on different days.
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