The Complete Fritz Lang Mabuse Box Set
With two great bodies of work, the first in the German silent era, the other in Hollywood talkies, Lang (1890-1976) bestrides the history of cinema, arguably the most original, innovative and influential figure in film history. He virtually invented several movie genres, including the paranoid conspiracy thriller, and running through his oeuvre over three decades is the mysterious figure of the megalomaniac criminal genius, Dr Mabuse, who reflected the madness of the 20th century and its possessed leaders.

This superbly produced four-disc set in Eureka's Master of Cinema series features his three very different takes on Mabuse: the five-hour Dr Mabuse, The Gambler (1922), one of the masterpieces of silent cinema which captured the malaise of the Weimar Republic; The Testament of Dr Mabuse (1933), which targeted the ascendancy of Nazism and was his last German film before going into exile; and The 1,000 Eyes of Dr Mabuse (1960), his final movie, reflecting his thoughts on the new Germany and the cold war.

4xDVD9 | PAL | 495 minutes | 26.5 Gb + 3% rec
Language: Deutsch
Subtitles: English
Genre: Crime, Horror, Mystery, Thriller


Disc 1 & 2: Dr. Mabuse der Spieler (1922)

The evocation of a crime ridden, post World War 1 Weimar Berlin is quickly established in Part one, with criminal mastermind and master of disguise, Dr Mabuse, exploiting both an inflation hit stock exchange and the rich citizens, thanks to his mastery of hypnosis and mind control, all the while presiding over the underworld counterfeiting and gambling rackets of the city. What ensues, is a slow burning adventure through gentlemen’s clubs, gambling dens and jails, with a highly sophisticated and modern feeling car chase, all building to an inventively staged cliffhanger into Part 2.

Extras:

• Commentary by renowned film scholar and author of ‘The Strange Case of Dr Mabuse’ David Kalat. With a four and a half hour running time, the amount of information covered is vast, and whilst thoroughly enjoyable and very informative, there are spoilers, and the topics covered can distract slightly from what is on the screen.

• The Music of Dr. Mabuse (12:57) – A interview with composer Aljoscha Zimmermann, looking at the composition of his piano heavy score and at the recurring themes or ‘leitmotifs’.

• Norbert Jacques: The Literary Inventor of Dr. Mabuse (9:35) – A discussion of the creator of Dr. Mabuse, exploring the character’s and author’s enduring mark on the history of cinema.

• Mabuse’s Motives (29:55) – An exploration of the films motifs in the context of German silent cinema.

Disc 3: Das Testament des Dr. Mabuse (1933)

We now skip ahead eleven years to 1933, and Fritz Lang’s second instalment and political allegory, Das Testament des Dr. Mabuse, or The Testament of Dr. Mabuse, again written by Lang and Von Harbou and with Rudolf Klein-Rogge reprising his role as the Doctor.

Based on elements of Norbert Jacques’ 1930 novel ‘Mabuse’s Colony’, the plot sees Dr. Mabuse, now in an insane asylum, under the watchful eye of the obsessive Professor Baum, seemingly telepathically manipulating an ‘Empire of Crime’ from the confines of his cell. What is interesting to note though is that Dr. Mabuse is the not the central focus of this film, and Klein-Rogge remains silent throughout, as if toying with the expectations of the audience.

Disc 4: Die 1000 Augen des Dr. Mabuse (1960)

After immersing ourselves in 386 minutes of cinematic glory, we now arrive at final stage of our journey, Fritz Lang’s sadly overlooked swan song in a career spanning over five decades, and his first return to Germany since 1933, The Thousand Eyes of Dr. Mabuse. This time based on Polish novelist, Jan Fethke’s, 1931, Esperanto novel ‘Mr. Tot Buys a Thousand Eyes’, we see the sinister name of Mabuse re-emerging in Cold War era Germany. This film has much more of a John Le Carre or James Bond espionage, or spy movie feel to it than the earlier films, and evokes more of a ‘Big Brother is watching you’, police-state theme. Dr. Mabuse is confirmed to be long dead early on in the film, so the mystery here is, are we dealing with the continuation of a legacy, or going back down the supernatural path, the reincarnation of Dr. Mabuse himself?

• Optional English-language dub track, approved by Fritz Lang

• Commentary by David Kalat. This time, the commentary are focused primarily on the making of the film and production difficulties, rather than analysing the what we are seeing on the screen. One point to note is that some of the performers onscreen are being dubbed, as is clear if you match the subtitles or dialogue to their lip movements and Kalat also explains the decisions behind this.

• An alternate ending taken from the French print of the film, with a significant change to the conclusion of the film.

• 2002 interview with actor Wolfgang Preiss, however, watch the film first as it will spoil the twists in the plot.

Download The Complete Fritz Lang Mabuse Box Set: Dr. Mabuse, der Spieler / Dr. Mabuse, the Gambler (1922), Das Testament des Dr. Mabuse / The Testament of Dr. Mabuse (1933), Die 1000 Augen des Dr. Mabuse / The Thousand Eyes of Dr. Mabuse (1960) 4 x DVD9 Eureka - Masters of Cinema:

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