The Testament of Dr. Mabuse 1933

The Testament of Dr. Mabuse

Critics Consensus

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89%

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Total Count: 19

90%

Audience Score

User Ratings: 5,096
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Movie Info

After a detective is assaulted by thugs and placed in an asylum run by Professor Baum (Oscar Beregi), he observes the professor's preoccupation with another patient, the criminal genius Dr. Mabuse the hypnotist (Rudolf Klein-Rogge). When Mabuse's notes are found to be connected with a rash of recent crimes, Commissioner Lohmann (Otto Wernicke) must determine how Mabuse is communicating with the criminals, despite conflicting reports on the doctor's whereabouts, and capture him for good.

Cast & Crew

Oscar Beregi
Prof. Dr. Baum
Otto Wernicke
Kriminalkomissar Lohmann, Inspector Karl Lohmann
Gustav Diessl
Thomas Kent
Rudolf Schündler
Hardy
Camilla Spira
Juwelen-Anna
Fritz Lang
Writer (Screenplay)
Thea von Harbou
Writer (Screenplay)
Károly Vass
Cinematographer
Fritz Arno Wagner
Cinematographer
Conrad von Molo
Film Editor
Lothar Wolff
Film Editor
Emil Hasler
Art Direction
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Critic Reviews for The Testament of Dr. Mabuse

All Critics (19) | Top Critics (4) | Fresh (17) | Rotten (2)

Audience Reviews for The Testament of Dr. Mabuse

  • Jul 11, 2018
    A film which works on many levels - as a detective story, a supernatural thriller, Expressionist art, and lastly, as an ominous warning about those preying on man's fear to unleash chaos and disorder upon the world. That last bit was so relevant in Germany in the 1930's that it got the film banned by Joseph Goebbels, and it's still relevant today. Director Fritz Lang gives us lots of fantastic images, and the editing style which cuts to different elements which are playing out in the story feels very modern. The acting is excellent across the board, with the inspector (Otto Wernicke), asylum doctor (Oscar Beregi), and the sinister Dr. Mabuse (Rudolf Klein-Rogge) all standing out. We get clever work on the part of the police, including some early forensics, and clever work from the bad guys, including pretty cool gadgets on top of the mind control. The love story subplot is small but Gustav Diessl and Wera Liessem make the most of it, with a lovely embrace when she finds out just how much trouble he's in (but loves him anyway), and with a fantastic escape scene. The ability to control people's minds, to bend them to one's will, to force them to be obedient or to die - it has elements from other movies of the day (Dr. Fu Manchu comes to mind), but it's particularly chilling here. As Mabuse puts it, "The ultimate purpose of crime is to establish the endless empire of crime. A state of complete insecurity and anarchy, founded upon the tainted ideals of a world doomed to annihilation. When humanity, subjugated by the terror of crime, has been driven insane by fear and horror, and when chaos has become supreme law, then the time will have come for the empire of crime." This is a true villain, and Lang makes the most of the story. The pace is excellent and never drags over its two hour run time. It's a sequel of course, but stands very well on its own, and is highly entertaining.
    Antonius B Super Reviewer
  • Sep 24, 2016
    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 M Super Reviewer
  • Aug 15, 2009
    There is a lot of neat stuff in here, the special effects of the ghost of Mabuse was just so cool, but in other parts the film dragged. All I wanted to do was to edits some scenes out, the unbearable long fire scene at the chemical plant, ,but especially the flashback scenes which I felt were unnecessary. Overall it was just okay.
    Marion R Super Reviewer
  • Mar 05, 2009
    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 P Super Reviewer

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