A haunting, suspenseful sequel to the great Fritz Lang's 1922 silent DR. MABUSE, THE GAMBLER picks up where the original left off--with Rudolf Klein-Rogge, reprising his role as the mad Dr. Mabuse, in a cell in an insane asylum. When Mabuse dies, Prof. Baum (Oskar Beregi), the director of
the asylum, becomes possessed by the dead doctor's spirit and is compelled to carry out the madman's master plan to destroy the state through theft, violence, murder, and destruction. Although Baum engineers these chaotic acts, he manages to lead a double life, retaining his position at the
asylum. Interwoven into this story is the tale of two lovers--Lilli (Wera Liessem) and Kent (Gustav Diesel), a member of Baum's gang who wants out and manages to prove the connection between Mabuse's plans and the chaos that is rocking Berlin.
Filmed in 1932 and coscripted by Lang's wife, Thea von Harbou, THE TESTAMENT OF DR. MABUSE was made during the Nazi party's rise to power, and completed just before Lang fled, without von Harbou (who would become a top Nazi screenwriter), to the US. Whether or not it was Lang's intention, there
are distinct parallels between THE TESTAMENT OF DR. MABUSE and the real-life events of the day--Prof. Baum symbolizing all those whose minds had become controlled by the thought of carrying out the "master plan." It should come as no surprise, then, that this remarkable testament to Lang's
artistry was banned, and nearly destroyed, by the Nazis. leave a comment