Tuesday, November 29, 2005

Day 27: "The Testament of Dr. Mabuse"

Director: Fritz Lang 1933
Banned by the Nazis and not seen in Germany until several years after World War ll, this is a sequel of sorts to Lang's earlier silent film, "Dr. Mabuse the Gambler." In that, Mabuse is a criminal mastermind. He is that, too, in "Testament" but here he is confined to a mental institution--and he appears to die halfway through, adding a supernatural element. There are some terrific scenes, notably the murder of a man as he waits in his car for pedestrians to clear a walkway. This is a strange film in many ways, but always watchable. Despite the Nazi ban, Joseph Goebbels reportedly offered Lang a top position at UFA, the German film studio. Lang immediately fled Germany and eventually settled in Hollywood, where he directed some great movies, including "The Big Heat" (1953). The character of Police Commissioner Lohmann is the same cop who pursued Peter Lorre in Lang's classic "M" (1932). Lang returned to Mabuse in his last film, "The Thousand Eyes of Dr. Mabuse" (1960).


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