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(Review originally written at 9 January 2008)

The previous Dr. Mabuse movies were mostly mystery thrillers but this movie is more of a crime thriller, also with some certain '60's funkiness added to it all. The movie is more starting to head into the 'James Bond' sort of direction with this entry, also by having some silly gadgets in it, used to murder people with. It also all means that the story is less believable and even a bit silly, compared to the previous Dr. Mabuse entries. In the movie it's also kept a mystery for long who Dr. Mabuse is and he's mostly featured in shadows and underneath masking clothes, though if you've seen the previous "Die 1000 Augen des Dr. Mabuse", which got released only just one year before this movie, you already know who Dr. Mabuse is and how he looks like, so it just seems a bit silly all and in some ways this movie is just basically more of the same, compared to the previous Dr. Mabuse entries, especially the last one "Die 1000 Augen des Dr. Mabuse". There unfortunately also are some unnecessary plot lines and characters. Or differently put; some characters and plot lines we just don't care about!

All of the action and especially the editing of it all looks by todays standards terribly outdated and clumsy. But who can really blame them. Action movies and action-style was basically still non-existent in 1961. Then again, the movie also isn't too action filled. The movie at least doesn't lay its emphasis on it and rather relies on its script and the thriller and mystery elements in it.

The overall style and atmosphere is great. It has a sort of dark, mysterious atmosphere, that is being enhanced by the fact that the movie was shot in black & white. Perhaps the only true thing that all of the Dr. Mabuse movies have in common (with the exception of "Dr. M schlägt zu" that was shot in color). Because lets face it, the Dr. Mabuse movies from the '20's, '30's and '60's are all quite different in style, approach and overall execution of it all, simply because of the different time periods the movies got made in. Also the character of Dr. Mabuse changed and the Mabuse in this movie does not operate the same as the one from the '20's and '30's. But that's OK all. It sort of gives each Dr. Mabuse movie its own identity and also makes sure that all of the movies are still filled with surprises. The character of Dr. Mabuse himself also doesn't get any weaker because of it.

The presence of the character of Dr. Mabuse of course really uplifts the movies and makes the movie much better than just any other average thriller from the same period. It's a great villainous, classic crime character, with lots of power over people.

Gert Fröbe is not as great in this movie as he was in "Die 1000 Augen des Dr. Mabuse" and it's of course also a bit weird and confusing that he this time plays a totally different character as he did in the previous entry "Die 1000 Augen des Dr. Mabuse" (same goes for some other actors within this movie, such as for instance Werner Peters). But of course that doesn't take away that he still gives away one fine performance. Wolfgang Preiss reprises his role from the previous Dr. Mabuse movie again and does a good job at it, though I was his role was bigger.

Not that great when compared to the previous 3 Dr. Mabuse movies but on its own this is simply a good and certainly enjoyable early crime thriller.

7/10

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About Frank Veenstra

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