|Evil Clown (Werner Peters)|
Director Harald Reinl of The Return of Dr. Mabuse brings back Lex Barker [Tarzan's Magic Foutain] as FBI agent Joe Como, and replaces Gert Frobe's Inspector Lohmann with Inspector Brahm (Siegfried Lowitz). Como feels that Dr. Mabuse (again Wolfgang Preiss) is still alive and that his evil force has something to do with a theater presenting a bizarre ballet/operetta, while Brahm is just as sure that Mabuse is dead. An invisible man seems to be stalking the star, Liane Martin (Karin Dor of You Only Live Twice), but he may not be Dr. Mabuse. In the meantime, there is skulduggery afoot on a project known as "Operation X," which monitors satellites. The head of the project, Professor Erasmus (Rudolph Fernau), never comes out of his vault and has his own secrets. As usual, everyone who knows too much is conveniently knocked off by assorted henchman, including an evil clown (Werner Peters) who also appears in the theater's production. By this time the Mabuse movies were beginning to resemble Eurospy features, but then the villains in Ian Fleming's James Bond novels were always in the tradition of older characters like Mabuse (The first Bond movie, Dr. No, actually came out the same year). The Invisible Dr. Mabuse has atmosphere and interesting settings, and a few lively sequences, and the acting is generally good, with Preiss playing a dual role and actually killing "himself" at one point.
Verdict: Nothing stops that Mabuse. **1/2.