(Review originally written at 28 December 2007)

Fritz Lang must have really loved the character Dr. Mabuse, to make a sequel to his 1922 movie "Dr. Mabuse, der Spieler - Ein Bild der Zeit", 11 years later. He even ended his directing career with a Dr. Mabuse movie in 1960 with "Die 1000 Augen des Dr. Mabuse".

Just like in his 1931 hit "M", Lang uses still some silent movie effects, also by simply leaving out the sound in parts, in order to enhance the tension. In those moments you can also really tell that Lang's true heart is still at silent movie making. The movie has an old fashioned style of film-making, even for 1933 standards. This can be seen mostly in its compositions, camera movements and editing style. I like this style and it also makes this movie a typical Fritz Lang picture with its own unique distinctive characteristic style.

Just like the first movie "Dr. Mabuse, der Spieler - Ein Bild der Zeit" and till some extend also "M", a lot of different styles get mixed and it's hard to place this movie under one genre. The movie has definitely thriller elements, crime, mystery, a touch of the supernatural and even some horror and comedy. Some people call this movie surreal-noir, which is perhaps the best way to describe it in short.

It foremost is a movie that progresses and is build up in a typical thriller style, with a mysterious crime story, that slowly unfolds. It's a real solidly written and constructed story, that is especially strong in its build up of its mystery and tension. This especially goes for the movie its second halve.

It's of course also nice that Rudolf Klein-Rogge reprises his role of Dr. Mabuse again, 11 years after his last appearance, even though his role is this time much smaller. He was an actor that regularly would appear in Fritz Lang movies. They made 10 movies together, including classics such as "Metropolis", the two Nibelungen movies and of course these Dr. Mabuse movies, of which this movie formed their last collaboration.

Dr. Mabuse was in 1922 one of the first ever real movie villains. He's a very manipulative character with special hypnotic powers, to force people to do things he wants them to, of course purely for his own benefit. He continues his evil games in this movie, though his entire scheme doesn't seem as ingenious and evil as in the first movie was the case, mostly because Dr. Mabuse isn't a lot present in his own physical form. Nevertheless a couple of great dream-like sequences involving his character make up for this, especially in the end.

Truly yet another impressive early thriller from Fritz Lang.


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About Frank Veenstra

Watches movies...writes about them...and that's it for now.
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