The Testament of Dr. Mabuse (1933)
The Testament of Dr. Mabuse (1933)
The Testament of Dr. Mabuse Photos
as Dr. Mabuse
as Commissioner Karl Lohmann
as Prof. Doctor Baum
as Dr. Kramm
as Hardy's Friend
as Baum's Servant
as Nicolai Griforiew
as Erpresser / Blackmailer
as Police Inspector
Critic Reviews for The Testament of Dr. Mabuse
The story is very long-winded and even an ingenious director like Fritz Lang could not prevent its being rather slow-moving in places.
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.
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.
The movie captures an air of dread, despair, and individual impotence -- a political atmosphere that meshed perfectly with Lang's raging paranoia.
Fritz Lang's suspense masterpiece starts with a kick and then piles on the subterfuge, suspense and terror.
Audience Reviews for The Testament of Dr. Mabuse
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.
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.
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...
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