The Testament of Dr. Mabuse
(Das Testamant des Dr. Mabuse)

Screening on Film
Directed by Fritz Lang.
With Rudolf Klein-Rogge, Oskar Beregi, Karl Meixner.
Germany, 1933, 35mm, black & white, 122 min.
German with English subtitles.
Print source: HFA

Ten years after Dr. Mabuse, the Gambler, Lang’s paradigmatic criminal mastermind remains locked in an asylum, furiously writing instructions for the dismantling of civil society. The secretive and unbroken transmission of these instructions is the mystery facing M detective Lohmann here returning to face nothing less than an “empire of crime.” Notable given Hitler’s concurrent ascent, the film focuses less on the super criminal’s concentration of power than on the widespread susceptibility to his influence. As Nicole Brenez writes, “The figure of evil disperses. One can no longer assign it a body; it has become an idea which transmits itself.” Lang employs a dazzling arsenal of formal techniques to realize this frightening new totality, a terminal vision of society that ends with the camera itself locked in the asylum.

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The Complete Fritz Lang

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The Dark Worlds of Fritz Lang – Part Two

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