Thursday, February 2, 2012

Dr. Mabuse, der Spieler - Ein Bild der Zeit (1922)

This is a 4-hour silence movie directed by Fritz Lang, divided into 2 parts: Der grosse spieler and Inferno. Dr Mabuse is a master criminal and very dangerous because he is also a telepathic hypnosis. In the beginning of the movie, he makes so much money by manipulating the stock market. He is also a money counterfeiter. Therefore, he is a scary character because he doesn't do crimes for money, but to make harm. In the first part, he destroys the life of a young man named Edgar Hull. In the second part, he destroys Russian Count Told's life because he wants Countess Told. Dr Mabuse also has his nemesis: state prosecutor Wenk. Wenk encounters Dr Mabuse several times, but as Dr Mabuse is a master of disguise, it's difficult to recognize him.

The movie is called Dr Mabuse The Gambler. Beside gambling with the stock market, that is how he destroys the life of Edgar Hull and Count Told. He hypnotized them so they gamble a whole night long. He also hypnotizes his opponents, so they think they lost the game - when actually they are holding the winning cards. In the 2 pictures below, he hypnotizes Inspector Wenk, who in his investigation disguised as a gambler, so that Wenk only see the words Tsi Nan Fu - and not what's on his cards.


In my opinion, compared to Louis Feuillade's Fantômas, Dr Mabuse is better structured; perhaps because Dr Mabuse was made in later date. At least the DVD of Dr Mabuse is much better, because Fantômas has more missing and destroyed frames. Fantômas has more followers in the criminal world, yet I think Dr Mabuse is more dangerous. Fantômas is actually caught by his nemesis, Inspector Juve, at least once; while it's so hard for Wenk to catch Dr Mabuse. Wenk doesn't even know whom he is looking until the end and when he finally jails Dr Mabuse's accomplice, they are too afraid to or won't speak. Near the end, Wenk is hypnotized again by Dr Mabuse who tells him to commit suicide!

The ending is very good: Dr Mabuse lost his mind. I think if Wenk sends him to jail, he can easily hypnotize the guards to let him go.

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