The Testament of Dr. Mabuse Reviews

  • Antonius B Super Reviewer
    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.

    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.

  • Jul 06, 2017

    Brilliant sound film, direct sequel to the original Dr. Mabuse movie. Many so-called cliches were heavily borrowed from this movie, starting from the outstandingly played by Otto Wernicke grouchy yet brilliant inspector Lohmann to the soul-possession device that suggests the super-human, even supernatural, powers of Dr. Mabuse.

    Brilliant sound film, direct sequel to the original Dr. Mabuse movie. Many so-called cliches were heavily borrowed from this movie, starting from the outstandingly played by Otto Wernicke grouchy yet brilliant inspector Lohmann to the soul-possession device that suggests the super-human, even supernatural, powers of Dr. Mabuse.

  • Carlos M 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.

    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.

  • Jan 17, 2015

    A great sequel to the Der Spiegler. Raw and explosive, yet mysterious, and givien its time and place (1933) it's sharp as a knife.

    A great sequel to the Der Spiegler. Raw and explosive, yet mysterious, and givien its time and place (1933) it's sharp as a knife.

  • Oct 23, 2014

    Now this is a spooky movie, but it's a different kind of spooky. Banned by the Nazis upon its release 'Dr. Mabuse' uses its story of the hunt for an illusive criminal mastermind to examine the mechanics of terror(ism) in the modern age. 80 years later the film is still sharply done & surprisingly relevant

    Now this is a spooky movie, but it's a different kind of spooky. Banned by the Nazis upon its release 'Dr. Mabuse' uses its story of the hunt for an illusive criminal mastermind to examine the mechanics of terror(ism) in the modern age. 80 years later the film is still sharply done & surprisingly relevant

  • Jul 02, 2014

    Shorter but to the point, The Testament of Dr. Mabuse is a great sequel that is quite tense, interesting and features some memorable characters. Another Fritz Lang classic.

    Shorter but to the point, The Testament of Dr. Mabuse is a great sequel that is quite tense, interesting and features some memorable characters. Another Fritz Lang classic.

  • Mar 15, 2014

    There is such a joy I get when I watch the crime or noir films of Fritz Lang. Here's a man that truly understands evil. Though I have yet to see all of his Mabuse works, I can't wait to see every single interpretation--both by him and others--of one of my very favourite cinematic villains. Furthermore, I greatly relish seeing the works of great filmmakers who use subtlety and cleverness to get their art out in the most difficult of circumstances, using their craftsmanship to take pokes at the oppressive regimes they are working under (i.e., Eisenstein, Lang, the Czech New Wave, Jafar Panahi). Essential for any fan of the genre, and worth both purchasing and rewatching if you, like me, are a work of a remarkable director at the pinnacle of his profession.

    There is such a joy I get when I watch the crime or noir films of Fritz Lang. Here's a man that truly understands evil. Though I have yet to see all of his Mabuse works, I can't wait to see every single interpretation--both by him and others--of one of my very favourite cinematic villains. Furthermore, I greatly relish seeing the works of great filmmakers who use subtlety and cleverness to get their art out in the most difficult of circumstances, using their craftsmanship to take pokes at the oppressive regimes they are working under (i.e., Eisenstein, Lang, the Czech New Wave, Jafar Panahi). Essential for any fan of the genre, and worth both purchasing and rewatching if you, like me, are a work of a remarkable director at the pinnacle of his profession.

  • Dec 07, 2013

    My Favorite Thriller Film Is 1991's The Silence Of The Lambs.

    My Favorite Thriller Film Is 1991's The Silence Of The Lambs.

  • Oct 05, 2013

    one of fritz lang's creepiest pix was originally 124 minutes but the restored version runs 121 minutes it is all they could find

    one of fritz lang's creepiest pix was originally 124 minutes but the restored version runs 121 minutes it is all they could find

  • Sep 24, 2013

    Honestly, the best response I can offer to this film is the classic Internet line "What is this I don't even." It's an early sound film from the German master filmmaker Fritz Lang, and as weird as his classics M and Metropolis are, this film is definitely weirder. The overstuffed, confusing plot involves a psychic criminal mastermind who commands an "empire of crime" from within his cell in the mental asylum and is able to possess other people and, later, appear as a ghost. There's also a lot of shooting, and a factory burning down, and a room flooding with water, and a bomb that takes three hours to go off for some reason. It's possibly the weirdest film I've seen from the 1930s. I don't really know what else to say about it.

    Honestly, the best response I can offer to this film is the classic Internet line "What is this I don't even." It's an early sound film from the German master filmmaker Fritz Lang, and as weird as his classics M and Metropolis are, this film is definitely weirder. The overstuffed, confusing plot involves a psychic criminal mastermind who commands an "empire of crime" from within his cell in the mental asylum and is able to possess other people and, later, appear as a ghost. There's also a lot of shooting, and a factory burning down, and a room flooding with water, and a bomb that takes three hours to go off for some reason. It's possibly the weirdest film I've seen from the 1930s. I don't really know what else to say about it.