Lively, entertaining reviews of, and essays on, old and newer films and everything relating to them, written by professional author William Schoell.

Thursday, December 22, 2016


Wolfgang Preiss as Mabuse
THE TERROR OF DR. MABUSE (aka Das Testament des Dr. Mabuse1962). Director: Werner Klingler.

"Mabuse -- the criminal? No -- Mabuse the genius!"

"Dr. Mabuse will very much enjoy this -- watching you squirm, hearing you shriek."

This remake of The Testament of Dr. Mabuse follows the story pretty closely. A series of ingenious robberies -- of everything from armored cars to banks -- befuddle Inspector Lohmann (Gert Frobe of Goldfinger) and his assistant, Kruger (Harald Juhnke). Mortimer (Charles Regnier) leads the men on their assignments, but they all answer to "Dr. Mabuse," who has resided in an institution for many years. Mabuse's strong will and hypnotic powers have turned Professor Pohland (Walter Rilla ), the head of the institution, into a carbon copy of himself. In the meantime, Mortimer enlists a washed up boxer, Jonny (Helmut Schmid), into the gang, but he has a crisis of conscience, and winds up imprisoned with his girlfriend, Nellie (Senta Berger of The Spy with My Face). The chief differences between both films is that in the latter Mabuse is strictly a criminal mastermind while in the earlier film he is an out and out terrorist. There is no scene in the remake equivalent to the sequence involving the room with a bomb that fills with water in the original, although this version has a suspenseful bit in regards to a descending elevator car. Unlike the first film, Lohmann winds up tortured by electroshock by the professor. The main problem with this film is that it doesn't improve on Fritz Lang's version, which itself was not exactly a masterpiece. The acting in this isn't bad, and Anneli Sauli makes a brief impression as the prostitute, Heidi.

Verdict: So-so Mabuse. **1/2.

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