Dr Mabuse, the Gambler

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Lang's introduction to Mabuse is typical of his early work in being disorganised and erratically paced as a narrative, but shot through with flashes of inspiration. The master criminal (taken from a pulp novel by Norbert Jacques) is presented as an overlord of the contemporary social chaos in Berlin: he profits from the ills of the time, and adopts countless disguises to instigate new varieties of exploitation. Lang has said that he intended the film as a kind of social criticism, and his sprawling plot does take glimpses of night-life decadence and themes like economic inflation in its stride. But overall the grasp of social reality is as shaky as the plotting, and the film's interest - certainly by comparison with the later Testament of Dr Mabuse - remains basically historical.

Release details

Duration: 270 mins

Cast and crew

Director: Fritz Lang
Screenwriter: Fritz Lang, Thea von Harbou
Cast: Rudolf Klein-Rogge
Alfred Abel
Aud Egede Nissen
Gertrude Welcker
Bernhard Goetzke
Paul Richter
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Fielder

As a lifelong fan of silent movies I find that my taste is very regular and coincides with the critics' choices. von Stroheim's "Greed" is my favorite, and "Dr. Mabuse" is next. Riveting drama. Every scene is a wonder. No film like DM has been made before or sense. All by itself it would have made Fritz Lang's reputation forever. Hopefully someday all of "Greed" will be found and restored so we would have that masterpiece too! Sure, Griffith's "Birth of a Nation" is a stand out but it is not up to the level of these other two.

Fielder

As a lifelong fan of silent movies I find that my taste is very regular and coincides with the critics' choices. von Stroheim's "Greed" is my favorite, and "Dr. Mabuse" is next. Riveting drama. Every scene is a wonder. No film like DM has been made before or sense. All by itself it would have made Fritz Lang's reputation forever. Hopefully someday all of "Greed" will be found and restored so we would have that masterpiece too! Sure, Griffith's "Birth of a Nation" is a stand out but it is not up to the level of these other two.