The Thousand Eyes of Dr. Mabuse (1960)

THE THOUSAND EYES OF DR. MABUSE (1960)
aka Die 1000 Augen des Dr. Mabuse
Article 2365 by Dave Sindelar
Viewing Date: 9-16-2007
Posting Date: 2-2-2008
Directed by Fritz Lang
Featuring Dawn Addams, Peter van Eyck, Wolfgang Preiss

Though believed to have died in 1932, it appears that Dr. Mabuse is still alive and plotting evil. Police suspect that the center of operations is the Luxor Hotel, where many of the murder victims were known to have stayed before their deaths.

Lest we forget, the whole sixties cycle of Dr. Mabuse movies was kicked off by Fritz Lang himself, who directed this, his last movie, and cowrote the script. No, it’s not up to his earlier Dr. Mabuse movies, but it’s more subtle and sophisticated than the follow-ups made without Lang, though that doesn’t mean the sequels to this one are bad. This itself is a sequel to the THE TESTAMENT OF DR. MABUSE from 1932, which is referred to in the script and in the plot itself; the opening murder is a reprise of a murder sequence from that film. There’s a mystery element to this one; as you meet the residents of the hotel and the various interested parties, you know one of them is Mabuse himself, and that another is a secret detective assigned to the case. On top of the police commissioner played by Gert Frobe (not the same policeman he plays in the remake of the 1932 movie a few years later), we have a suicidal young woman, her doctor, a rich industrialist, a hotel detective, an insurance salesman, a blind spiritualist, and a jealous husband. The mystery element isn’t particularly puzzling; I rightly figured out who was who, though I was surprised by the fact that two of these people are one and the same. Dawn Addams is lovely, Gert Frobe and Peter Van Eyck both do fine work, and Wolfgang Preiss is excellent. The movie also features Howard Vernon as one of Mabuse’s hit men. The psychic provides some of the fantastic content, as does the implication that there’s something supernatural about Mabuse in the first place. The dubbing does detract a little from the proceedings, but overall, it is a worthwhile follow-up to the original Mabuse films.

 

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