The Complete Fritz Lang Mabuse Boxset (1922/1933/1960)

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The Complete Fritz Lang Mabuse Boxset (1922/1933/1960)

The Complete Fritz Lang Mabuse Boxset (1922/1933/1960)
4xDVD9 | VIDEO_TS | PAL | 720x576 | 5800 kbps - 7800 kbps | 26.8Gb
Audio: #1 German AC3 2.0 @ 224 Kbps, #2 German AC3 2.0 @ 192 Kbps | Subtitles: English
Full time: 482 minutes | Germany, France, Italy | Crime, Mystery, Thriller

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.

From the early stages of his career across five decades to his final film, Fritz Lang built a trilogy of paranoiac thrillers focused on an entity who began as a criminal mastermind, and progressed into something more amorphous: fear itself, embodied only by a name Dr. Mabuse. For the first time on home video, all three of Fritz Lang's Mabuse films have been collected for one package, in their complete and restored forms.
1: Dr. Mabuse, der Spieler. [Dr. Mabuse, the Gambler.] (1922) Lang's two-part, nearly 5-hour silent epic detailing the rise and fall of Dr. Mabuse in Weimar-era Berlin.
2: Das Testament des Dr. Mabuse [The Testament of Dr. Mabuse] (1933) a tour-de-force thriller rife with supernatural elements, all converging around an attempt by the now-institutionalised Mabuse (or someone acting under his name… and possibly his will) to organise an 'Empire of Crime'.
3: Die 1000 Augen des Dr. Mabuse [The 1000 Eyes of Dr. Mabuse] (1960)

Fritz Lang's final film, in which hypnosis, clairvoyance, surveillance, and machine-guns come together for a whiplash climax that answers the question: Who's channelling Mabuse's methods in the Cold War era? The Masters of Cinema Series is proud to present Fritz Lang's complete Mabuse trilogy a cornerstone in the work of one of cinema's all-time greatest directors.

DVDBeaver

Fritz Lang's MABUSE films are among the great movie series of all time, and the complete trilogy is featured here in this collection. Included are both parts of Lang's epic 5-hour masterpiece DR. MABUSE: THE GAMBLER. The director/screenwriter deftly evokes the soiled and shoddy world of crime-infested and inflation-racked post World War I Berlin in the first installment. Employing his supreme powers of disguise and hypnosis, Dr. Mabuse (Rudolf Klein-Rogge) surrounds himself with loyal servants and criminal henchmen who assassinate his rivals, manipulate the stock market and seduce wealthy citizens out of their riches. The dark and mystical adventure of the criminal mastermind careens towards its stylised climax in the second installment.

The tenuous and terrified atmosphere of Germany on the eve of Nazi ascendancy is cleverly evoked in Lang's sequel to the 1922 film, THE TESTAMENT OF DR. MABUSE (1933). The film opens with Detective Hofmeister (Karl Meixner) spying on the activities of a criminal syndicate. Not realising he has been seen, Hofmeister is attacked by the thugs and later turns up out of his mind. He is placed in the institution of Professor Baum (Oscar Beregi), who becomes increasingly obsessed with another patient – the master criminal and hypnotist Dr. Mabuse. As all of the characters speed chaotically towards the film's dark climax, the idea of a madman controlling a mass of hypnotised people and causing them to commit crimes that he premeditates creates a mystical and simultaneously potent political allegory of Lang's time.

Back in Germany for the first time since 1933, Lang returned to the screen character that brought him enormous success in his pre-Hollywood years. THE THOUSAND EYES OF DR.MABUSE (1960) is not so much a sequel as an extension of Lang's early Mabuse films. Set in 1960, the film begins with a series of unsolved murders in a Berlin hotel. The modus operandi of the murderer is the same as that of long-dead megalomaniac Dr. Mabuse. Police detective Gert Frobe and amateur sleuths Peter Van Eyck and Dawn Addams suspect that the killer is a man who believes that he is the reincarnation of Mabuse. Could the culprit be secretive insurance salesman Werner Peters, or blind seer Wolfgang Preiss?

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The Complete Fritz Lang Mabuse Boxset (1922/1933/1960)

Dr. Mabuse, der Spieler - Ein Bild der Zeit / Dr. Mabuse: The Gambler (1922)
2xDVD9 | VIDEO_TS | PAL | 720x576 | 5800 kbps
Audio: #1 German AC3 2.0 @ 224 Kbps, #2 German AC3 2.0 @ 192 Kbps | Subtitles: English
04:30:00 | Germany | Crime, Mystery, Thriller

Arch-criminal Dr. Mabuse sets out to make a fortune and run Berlin. Detective Wenk sets out to stop him.

Director: Fritz Lang
Cast: Rudolf Klein-Rogge, Aud Egede Nissen, Gertrude Welcker, Alfred Abel, Bernhard Goetzke, Paul Richter, Robert Forster-Larrinaga, Hans Adalbert Schlettow, Georg John, Charles Puffy, Grete Berger, Julius Falkenstein, Lydia Potechina, Julius E. Herrmann, Julietta Brandt, Max Adalbert, Anita Berber, Paul Biensfeldt, Gustav Botz, Lil Dagover, Heinrich Gotho, Leonhard Haskel, Erner Huebsch, Gottfried Huppertz, Hans Junkermann, Adolf Klein, Erich Pabst, Edgar Pauly, Karl Platen, Auguste Prasch-Grevenberg

The Complete Fritz Lang Mabuse Boxset (1922/1933/1960)

The Complete Fritz Lang Mabuse Boxset (1922/1933/1960)

The Complete Fritz Lang Mabuse Boxset (1922/1933/1960)


1922 – Germany was in political turmoil and spiralling into a hyperinflation crisis. Meanwhile in cinema the German Expressionist movement was coming of age with the release of FW Murnau's Nosferatu and this, the first in Fritz Lang's series of epics Dr Mabuse, der Spieler. While perhaps not as classically expressionist as Murnau or Robert Wiene, Fritz Lang arguably put his finger on the mood of times better than any other. With Mabuse, his unique style develops to convey a picture of the chaos of the era.

The opening sequences of Dr Mabuse are evidence of screenwriter Thea von Harbou's growing strength as a storyteller and Lang's economy of expression. The first shot – a close-up of Mabuse's hand, holding cards showing his various disguises – presents and defines the title character. A frantic, rapidly cut action scene then hooks the viewer, whilst introducing us to Mabuse's network of minions. After that, we see Mabuse's elaborate scam at the stock market. In one particularly striking image, the crowd of traders panic and jostle, whilst Mabuse stands calmly on a pedestal above them – a perfect metaphor for his position of power amidst social chaos.

At one point in his youth Lang trained as an architect, and this fact is central to his style as a director. There are hints of this in his earliest films, but in Mabuse the architectural touch is fully matured. Throughout, the set design and decor is almost more important than the actors. Whereas other expressionists would evoke mood most frequently through use of light and shadow, Lang does it primarily through use of space. He composes shots in straight lines and geometric patterns, occasionally seeming to form eyes or faces. Often characters are dwarfed by the sheer cavernous size of the rooms they are in. Also look at how many scenes take place on a stage or lecture hall, and how Lang contrasts opposing shots of speaker (or performer) and audience – a metaphor for master and masses. He even has Mabuse sitting at his desk facing the camera, as if to make the real-life viewers his audience – a touch Lang used a fair bit throughout his work.

A frequent complaint about Dr Mabuse is its gargantuan length and I have to admit it does drag in places. Lang's following silent features, although also very long were extremely tight in structure and worked like a classical symphony in the way different parts complemented each other. Dr Mabuse is not quite up to that standard yet. While some of the individual acts are well-balanced little dramas in themselves, as a whole it is a little uneven. Mabuse also suffers from wordy title cards and a lack of convincing action sequences – again, problems that Lang would have solved by the time of Metropolis. It's worth remembering though that on its original release parts one and two were shown on consecutive nights, and it's much easier to digest this way. I wouldn't recommend any first-time viewer try to tackle the whole thing in one sitting.

Holding the whole thing together is a mesmerising performance from Rudolph Klein-Rogge in the title role. While acting in Hollywood was becoming increasingly naturalistic at this time, Germany was a little way behind and performances still tended to be a bit too theatrical and exaggerated. Lang however softens the impact of melodramatic acting by never letting the characters get too realistic in the first place. Cinema was like a comic-book for Lang, in his urban thrillers as much as in his exotic adventures, and this approach saves Dr Mabuse from becoming too strained and ridiculous.

Although it's not as polished as any of his later silents, Dr Mabuse was perhaps Lang's most influential film. The idea of revealing the identity and methods of the villain to the audience was no doubt a forerunner of Hitchcock's mode of building suspense. A young Sergei Eisenstein was given the task of cutting a shortened version of Mabuse for the Russian public, and the way Lang imbues each shot with meaning may have contributed to the concept of intellectual montage. This is not to mention the impact of the Mabuse character on generations of cinematic villains to come. Dr Mabuse, der Spieler is a far from perfect film, and can be tough to watch although it's not as dull as some would claim, and it's certainly a key film in several strands of cinematic development.

Extras:
- New, officially licenced transfer from restored materials
- New and improved optional English subtitles with original intertitles
- Newly recorded feature-length audio commentary by film-scholar and Lang expert David Kalat
- Three video pieces: an interview with the composer of the restoration score, a discussion of Norbert Jacques, creator of Dr. Mabuse, and an examination of the film’s motifs in the context of German silent cinema

IMDb

Dr. Mabuse and his organization of criminals are in the process of completing their latest scheme, a theft of information that will allow Mabuse to make huge profits on the stock exchange. Afterwards, Mabuse disguises himself and attends the Folies Bergeres show, where Cara Carozza, the main attraction of the show, passes him information on Mabuse's next intended victim, the young millionaire Edgar Hull. Mabuse then uses psychic manipulation to lure Hull into a card game where he loses heavily. When Police Commissioner von Wenk begins an investigation of this mysterious crime spree, he has little to go on, and he needs to find someone who can help him.
~ Snow Leopard

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The Complete Fritz Lang Mabuse Boxset (1922/1933/1960)

Das Testament des Dr. Mabuse / The Testament of Dr. Mabuse (1933)
DVD9 | VIDEO_TS | PAL | 720x576 | 7300 kbps
Audio: #1 German AC3 2.0 @ 224 Kbps, #2 German AC3 2.0 @ 192 Kbps | Subtitles: English
02:02:00 | Germany | Crime, Horror, Mystery, Thriller

A new crime wave grips the city and all clues seem to lead to the nefarious Dr. Mabuse, even though he has been imprisoned in a mental asylum for nearly a decade.

Director: Fritz Lang
Cast: Rudolf Klein-Rogge, Gustav Diessl, Rudolf Schundler, Oskar Hocker, Theo Lingen, Camilla Spira, Paul Henckels, Otto Wernicke, Theodor Loos, Hadrian Maria Netto, Paul Bernd, Henry Ple?, Adolf E. Licho, Oscar Beregi Sr., Wera Liessem, Karl Meixner, Klaus Pohl, Gerhard Bienert, Josef Dahmen, Georg John, Karl Platen, Paul Rehkopf, Franz Stein, Ludwig Stossel, Eduard Wesener, Bruno Ziener, Heinrich Gotho, Michael von Newlinsky, Anna Goltz, Heinrich Gretler

The Complete Fritz Lang Mabuse Boxset (1922/1933/1960)

The Complete Fritz Lang Mabuse Boxset (1922/1933/1960)

The Complete Fritz Lang Mabuse Boxset (1922/1933/1960)


One of Fritz Lang's most wellknown works, and a classic piece of German expressionism. A sequel to the silent film 'Dr. Mabuse, der spieler', archcriminal Mabuse has now been driven way beyond sanity and has spent the last eleven years in an asylum.

Our dear doctor spent the first few years in a catatonic state, totally unreachable. Then one day something akin to progress was made. The patient started to scribble down what seemed like gibberish on the walls. The patient was given paper to write on, and since then Mabuse has been writing nonstop, line after line, paper after paper. Acknowledged doctor Baum has ever since taken a great deal of interest both in his patient and in this "work" of his. If one momentarily could just step inside Mabuse's sick and twisted mind, then a cure might be possible…

And then it happens. Baum manages to decipher the text, and realizes that what he has in his hand might very well be a political essay of the same importance and power as Machiavelli's 'The Prince'. Throw mankind in the deepest abyss of despair, Mabuse says, using any means possible. Through random acts of violence, through organized terrorism, whatever will lead mankind to the brink of destruction. And then claim power.

Soon after this discovery strange crimes are being committed, and rumors of an organized criminal movement mobilizing underground are spread. It does not take long until Berlin is a city in terror.

This is where commissioner Lohmann comes in, doing his best to trace down the roots of the terrorist groups. Strangely enough, the evidence seems to point towards - the asylum and Dr. Mabuse!

The first half of this film is classic horror - through a visit to the asylum and a lecture by Baum we learn of Mabuse's work. And when we, together with Lohmann, is introduced to Mabuse (locked up in his cell) and meet his maddened gaze…well, it's a truly CHILLING moment!

We also learn of how a young man with good intentions through poverty is forced to seek work in organized crime. While trying to leave the group he realizes there is only one way out: death. Another claustrophobic and suspenseful moment in the movie.

Somewhere in the latter half of the movie things get a little out of hand. When the mystery with Mabuse's influence on the outside world finally has been solved, some of the incredible dark atmosphere is lost. Instead we get more of a traditional crime/suspense-kind of film, and the high amount of plots makes the film drag on just a little too long.

The eery atmosphere in the earlier parts of the movie, the fantastic expressionist style and many original and innovative moments makes this a 'must-see' for those with an interest for early German Cinema, or those looking for the roots to genres as horror and film noir. While the early parts of this movie is a definite masterpiece, the latter half feels somewhat flawed though.

Extras:
- New, officially licenced high-definition transfer from restored materials
- New and improved optional English subtitles with original soundtrack
- Newly recorded feature-length audio commentary by film-scholar and Lang expert David Kalat

IMDb

This film's a thriller, a detective story, a ghost story; it has romantic and comic sub-plots, a striking array of sets, some of the first convincing special effects ever used, echoes of other films; and it is not hard to find in it political relevance to today. It's a lot to cram into two hours, and one has to work to follow every twist of the plot, but it is both a rewarding and entertaining experience.

The film draws on an exceptionally wide variety of cinematic styles. There are expressionist moments, and these are particularly striking, but they account for only two or three minutes out of a running time of 120. There are moments when one could almost be in a screwball comedy. And there are moments which come close to social realism – it would be interesting to know whether the patients at the mental hospital played themselves. The dominant mode, though, is an anticipation of film noir.

I would, though, counsel against investing too much historical hindsight in this film – yes, Fritz Lang did go into exile from the Nazis – but it is more the shadow of Weimar than the shadow of Hitler that hovers in the background here.

Not perfect; not an absolute masterpiece: but an occasionally stunning and always stimulating film, which deserves 9 out of 10.
~ rpowell-4

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The Complete Fritz Lang Mabuse Boxset (1922/1933/1960)

Die 1000 Augen des Dr. Mabuse / The 1,000 Eyes of Dr. Mabuse (1960)
DVD9 | VIDEO_TS | PAL | 720x576 | 6800 kbps
Audio: #1 German AC3 2.0 @ 224 Kbps, #2 German AC3 2.0 @ 192 Kbps | Subtitles: English
01:33:00 | France, Italy, West Germany | Crime, Mystery, Thriller

Reporter Peter Barter gets murdered while driving to his tv station. Commisioner Kras gets a phone call from clairvoyant Cornelius who saw Barters death in a vision. But a dark force prevents Cornelius from seeing the man behind the crime. Meanwhile the policemen concentrate their activities on the hotel Luxor. There exist too many links between the hotel and the unsolved crimes. Trevors, a rich American, rents a room in the hotel at the same time. He can prevent the suicide of the young woman Marion Menil at the last minute. But what is the reason for Miss Menils doing? Why is she initimidated? Could it be that Dr. Mabuse, a genius in crime believed to be dead, is back?

Director: Fritz Lang
Cast: Dawn Addams, Peter van Eyck, Wolfgang Preiss, Gert Frobe, Werner Peters, Andrea Checchi, Howard Vernon, Nico Pepe, David Cameron, Jean-Jacques Delbo, Marielouise Nagel, Reinhard Kolldehoff, Lotti Alberti, Albert Bessler, Manfred Grothe, Renate Kuster, Maria Milde, Rolf Mobius, Linda Sini, Rolf Weih, Werner Buttler, Dieter Hallervorden, Hans W. Hamacher, Christiane Maybach, Bruno W. Pantel, Egon Vogel, Wolfgang Volz

The Complete Fritz Lang Mabuse Boxset (1922/1933/1960)

The Complete Fritz Lang Mabuse Boxset (1922/1933/1960)


This is a 16mm print which I acquired in a batch of films. It is very well dubbed in English. I assume the film is available on video. This film reminds me of the serials of the 1930's. Fritz Lang ended his career with this swansong, a return to a theme of his earlier Dr. Mabuse films. The master criminal's henchmen have never seen his face, and get their commands by radio while cruising in a van. Note the scene in the police commissioner's office. Everyone is smoking furiously and the room soon becomes filled with smoke. There is an almost identical scene to this in "M". Overall and very amusing and enjoyable film.

Extras:
- New, officially licenced anamorphic transfer from restored materials
- New and improved optional English subtitles with original soundtrack
- Newly recorded feature-length audio commentary by film-scholar and Lang expert David Kalat
- 2002 video interview with actor Wolfgang Preiss
- An alternate ending taken from the French print of the film
- Optional English-language dub track, approved by Fritz Lang

IMDb