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

Thursday, January 26, 2017


Daliah Lavi and Lex Barker 
THE RETURN OF DR. MABUSE (aka Im Stahlnetz des Dr. Mabuse/1961). Director: Harald Reinl.

Commissioner Lohmann (Gert Frobe) is alerted to the murder of an operative, an event which might be of major importance, and cancels his vacation. As the mysterious masked Dr. Mabuse slays his enemies second-hand and plots an attack on a power plant, Lohmann is aided by FBI agent Joe Como (Lex Barker), who may actually be a representative of the syndicate from Chicago. The syndicate wants to work with Mabuse, but he needs to show off the efficacy of his will-sapping drug. Como romances photo-journalist Maria (Daliah Lavi), whose father has been imprisoned by Mabuse and has developed the aforementioned gas. Lohmann suspects that Mabuse is operating out of a prison this time, and presumes Warden Wolf (Fausto Tozzi of Constantine and the Cross) is the master criminal, but there are unexpected developments. Other possible suspects include prison employee Bohmler (Werner Peters of Phantom of Soho); Father Briefenstien (Rudolph Fernau); and even Lohmann's assistant, Detective Voss (Joachim Mock). This is sort of a sequel to The 1000 Eyes of Dr. Mabuse, although Fritz Lang did not work on this film, and Frobe's name has been changed back to Lohmann after "Kras" was his surname in the previous picture. There's an assassin with a wooden leg, and a truck that shoots flames out of its side and roasts to ashes another female Syndicate operative. The score and dubbing are poor, with no one using their own voices, an especial problem for Daliah Lavi [Some Girls Do] who isn't much of a sex bomb without that husky voice and her bosom draped. As usual in these dubbed Mabuse pictures the man's name is pronounced "Ma-booze" when it should be "Ma-boo-suh." This picture repeats the bit with the couple trapped in a room filling with water that was used in Lang's Testament of Dr. Mabuse, but it's not as effective. Wolfgang Preiss again plays Mabuse but he doesn't actually show up until the end, after he removes another character's mask. Mabuse would return more than once.

Verdict: Some interesting stuff but perhaps not enough. **1/2.

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