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.
Cast and crew
|Screenwriter:||Fritz Lang, Thea von Harbou|
Aud Egede Nissen