The 1000 Eyes of Dr. Mabuse
(Die 1000 Augen des Dr. Mabuse)

Screening on Film
Directed by Fritz Lang.
With Dawn Addams, Peter von Eyck, Wolfgang Preiss.
West Germany/France/Italy, 1960, 35mm, black & white, 103 min.
Print source: HFA

Lang’s swan song is suffused with uncanny remnants of the past, both in its transposition of set-pieces from earlier films as well as its central setting of a grand hotel that formerly served as a headquarters for Nazi intelligence. Reflecting Lang’s increasingly disenchanted view of late modernity, this last incarnation of Dr. Mabuse proves more charlatan than mastermind: as in While the City Sleeps and Beyond a Reasonable Doubt, the insidious forms of social control that had previously been the province of criminal kingpins are now thoroughly integrated into everyday life. Producer Artur Braun persuaded Lang to return to the streets of Berlin for this dyspeptic conclusion to the Mabuse trilogy, but Lang felt himself estranged from the city. “His films were from a different world,” recalled Volker Schlöndorff, an assistant on the production. “His only thoughts were of Germany, of what it had been, of what it had done, of what it had become."

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