Premiere - 12/01/2003
"...Its Expressionist visuals, thrilling set pieces, and devastating double-crosses are still effective today..."
Sight and Sound - 07/01/2004
"[T]he set pieces are handled with superb verve."
Entertainment Weekly - 07/28/2006
"[A] trippy creation inflamed by the very real despair and excesses that gripped post-WWI Germany..." -- Grade: A-
Description by OLDIES.com:
Kino on Video is proud to present the authorized version of Fritz Lang's 1922 film Dr. Mabuse, the Gambler, mastered from a 2000 restoration conducted by the Friedrich-Wilhelm-Murnau-Stiftung, and using existing camera negatives from the Bundesarchiv-Filmarchiv, Berlin, and the Filmmuseum in Stadtmuseum, Munich. Featuring extra footage (which reveals more plot information, more close-ups, and a decidedly more provocative and lurid atmosphere), this DVD of Dr. Mabuse, the Gambler shows not only the longest available version of the film, but the one which most closely represents Lang's original vision.
A truly legendary silent film, Dr. Mabuse, the Gambler had a major impact on the development of the crime thriller, building upon the work of the pioneering French film serialist Louis Feuillade (Les Vampires) and firmly establishing it as a significant film genre. This epic two-part tale was originally released as two separate films, respectively subtitled The Great Gambler and Inferno, and that format is reproduced here.
The plot revolves around the pursuit of arch fiend Dr. Mabuse, a gambler, hypnotist, master of disguises and all-around criminal mastermind. Mabuse was the prototype for the sort of evil genius super-villains that would later become common in movies, whether it be in the James Bond pictures or in comic book adaptations like Superman and Batman. The film is dominated by the presence of Rudolf Klein-Rogge as Mabuse. A top German actor of the silent era, he is best known today for his performance as the mad scientist Rotwang in Lang's Metropolis.
Dr. Mabuse, the Gambler contains many of the elements that were expected from the crime genre at the time, including characters who slip in and out of disguise, mind control, gambling clubs, exotic women, brutal henchmen and unexpected plot twists. Lang's directorial ability to handle such pulp material in a masterful fashion, while also using it as a way to examine the decadence of Germany in the 1920s, reaffirms his status as one of the true greats of the silent era.
Includes both parts of Fritz Lang's Masterpiece! PART 1: Fritz Lang deftly evokes the soiled and shoddy world of crime-infested and inflation-racked post World War I Berlin in the first episode of his masterpiece, DR. MABUSE THE GAMBLER, PART I. Using special effects, extremely complex editing, fade outs, animation techniques and superimpositions, Lang took the lessons he learned in the supernatural films of German expressionism and applied them to this epic story of the underside of Germany. Employing his supreme powers of disguise and hypnosis, Mabuse surrounds himself with loyal servants and criminal henchmen who assassinate his rivals, manipulate the stock market and seduce wealthy citizens out of their riches. In a seedy underground cabaret, Mabuse, with the help of beautiful dancer Cara Carozza, hypnotizes a bored, wealthy man named Hull. After losing large sums of money to a disguised Mabuse, Hull is warned by police detective Wenk that he has been the victim of a master criminal. Hull ignores the warning as he has been seduced by Cara into thinking it was an honest game. Meanwhile, Wenk solicits the assistance of rich Countess Told in his endless attempts to capture Mabuse and his gang. When Cara is arrested, Mabuse retaliates by kidnapping Countess Told and eluding Wenk and the police once again. PART 2: The dark and mystical adventure of criminal mastermind Dr. Mabuse careens towards its stylized climax in the final episode, which is subtitled THE INFERNO. Part two delves further into Mabuse's maniacal manipulation and dastardly forays into illegal business, as he holds the wealthy Countess Told against her will and conspires against her husband by posing as a psychiatrist. Elaborate costumes and sets--as well as special effects and editing techniques that were well ahead of their time--lend DR. MABUSE DER SPIELER PART II an air of doom and mystery, as Detective Wenk follows Mabuse's wild goose chase further into the underworld of Berlin. Unable to convince Mabuse's former assistant, dancer, Cara Carozza to reveal his whereabouts, Wenk is fooled by a disguised Mabuse, to attend a hypnotism show by master hypnotist Weltman. The pace of the film mimics Wenk's speeding car as the police race to save Wenk from Mabuse's insidious plan and attempt to capture him at his headquarters. Using Countess Told as a shield, Mabuse attempts one last escape from the police. As the showdown erupts in a hail of bullets, leaving Mabuse's survival and ultimate legacy in question, Fritz Lang uses this complex tale of power and evil as a thinly veiled metaphor for the political state of 1920's Germany.