The Testament of Dr. Mabuse

1933

The Testament of Dr. Mabuse (1933)

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Movie Info

In this sequel to Dr. Mabuse, The Gambler, the mad Dr. Mabuse is imprisoned in an insane asylum, yet he continues to run his crime empire. In his cell, he plots the world's destruction. After the mad doctor dies, the asylum's director is possessed by the soul of Mabuse.

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Critic Reviews for The Testament of Dr. Mabuse

All Critics (18) | Top Critics (4)

The story is very long-winded and even an ingenious director like Fritz Lang could not prevent its being rather slow-moving in places.

Mar 26, 2009 | Full Review…
Variety
Top Critic

By 1932, the character had become rather more than just king villain of the serials: Testament finds him mouthing undisguised Nazi slogans from his asylum prison.

Feb 9, 2006 | Full Review…
Time Out
Top Critic

It is a hallucinating and horrifying story, depicted with great power and the extraordinary beauty of photography that Lang has led his admirers to expect.

May 9, 2005 | Rating: 4.5/5 | Full Review…

The movie captures an air of dread, despair, and individual impotence -- a political atmosphere that meshed perfectly with Lang's raging paranoia.

Apr 24, 2003 | Full Review…

Fritz Lang's suspense masterpiece starts with a kick and then piles on the subterfuge, suspense and terror.

Aug 7, 2012 | Rating: 4.5/5 | Full Review…

[Lang's] ambitious command of the medium...keeps us rooted to our seats from start to finish.

Sep 5, 2010 | Rating: 4/4 | Full Review…

Audience Reviews for The Testament of Dr. Mabuse

½

Despite pacing issues, a confusing ending and how we are usually too many steps ahead of the characters, it isn't hard to understand why the Third Reich, which was a nationalist regime that strongly defended order, banned this thought-provoking crime film when it came out.

Carlos Magalhães
Carlos Magalhães

Super Reviewer

In spite of the efforts of men like Johannes Schultz and Gustave Le Bon, hypnosis was often viewed as something supernatural or other-worldly well into the mid-twentieth century. This was not lost on German director Fritz Lang who made full use of public misconception here in this spin off of M. Though it's science is flawed, the rest of the film is well ahead of it's time. Lang's use of sound to tie scenes together (i.e. a ticking time-bomb becomes a man tapping on his breakfast egg) worked so well that similar effects are still being used today. The specter of Dr. Mabuse and his hypnotic mind control manifests itself in ghostly apparitions which Lang presents in transparent fashion, complete with makeup that is almost as effective and frightening today as it was in 1933. Don't expect this to be in the same league as Lang's landmark crime drama M, to compare the two would be unfair. The Testament of Dr. Mabuse is much more of a ghost story, a horror film, than it's predecessor but it is very much a classic in it's own right. Anchored in realism but delving far further into the macabre and the surreal.

Randy Tippy
Randy Tippy

Super Reviewer

Fritz Lang always makes such an interesting study, and despite having not seen the rest of the series, I really enjoyed this film. Lang's oeuvre is a forerunner to many of the films - and genres themselves - that we've come to take for granted. This installment in the series is a gangster film, effectively, except for the gang is more hell-bent on terrorist objectives than good old-fashioned cash-grabbing. Now add a haunting on top of the standard gangster fare, and make it all look like the first noir film you can imagine... you're basically there. Not the easiest to watch (as it's over 70 years old and the editing jumps around due simply to the restoration efforts made), but well worth it, once you're into it Lang's film proves exciting. And of particular note, there's one scene where an evil directive to the gang of terrorists is found to be coming from a recording... still quite topical, surprisingly...

Daniel Perry
Daniel Perry

Super Reviewer

"the testament of dr. mabuse" is fritz lang's perverse thriller upon mental hypnotization as manipulative apparatus of evil saboteurs. dr. mabuse is a deranged assylum patient who scrabbles abstract manuscripts to puzzle his patriachist who descends as his surrogate puppet headleader of underground destructive activities. eventually evil is infectious in its ceaseless delivering. the scene of patriachist being possessed by dr. mabuse's evil spirit is macabrely spooky. mabuse with piercing sight and slanted sharp nose penetrates into the doctor's soul, and the envirnoment is hauntingly surrounded with the disfigured skulls of abnormal sinister men upon the shelf as specimen. one evil passes forward another as the vicious circle that is a metaphor of nazi's brain-rinsing control over the germany. lang transcends the patriachist/inmate reversion into a mythical analogy of social criticism, and the case pf dr. mabuse would be one of early cinematic human-beast who pestles the world in his absolute demonology that is satan conquers all in the end, far more sinister than the anthony hopkins' "cannibal lecter".

Veronique Kwak
Veronique Kwak

Super Reviewer

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