Doctor Mabuse

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For other uses, see Mabuse.

Doctor Mabuse is a fictional character created by Norbert Jacques in the novel Dr. Mabuse, der Spieler and made famous by the three movies director Fritz Lang made about the character; see Dr. Mabuse the Gambler. Although the character was designed deliberately to mimic villains, such as Dr. Fu Manchu, Doctor Nikola, Fantômas, or Svengali, the latter of which was a direct inspiration, Jacques' goals were commercial success and to make political comments, in much the same way that the silent movie The Cabinet of Dr. Caligari (1920) had done just a few years previously.


Dr. Mabuse is a master of disguise and telepathic hypnosis known to employ body transference, most often through demonic possession but sometimes utilizing object technologies such as television or phonograph machines, to build a "society of crime.". Mabuse rarely commits his crimes in person, instead operating primarily through a network of agents enacting his schemes. Mabuse's agents range from career criminals working for him, to innocents blackmailed or hypnotized into cooperation, to dupes manipulated so successfully they do not realize that they are doing exactly what Mabuse planned for them to do.

Mabuse's identity often changes; one "Dr. Mabuse" may be defeated and sent to an asylum, jail or grave, only for a new "Dr. Mabuse" to later appear, as depicted in The Testament of Dr. Mabuse. The replacement invariably has the same methods, the same powers of hypnosis and the same criminal genius. There are even suggestions in some instalments of the series, that the "real" Mabuse is some sort of spirit that possesses a series of hosts.


He first appeared in the 1921 novel Dr. Mabuse, der Spieler ("Dr. Mabuse The Gambler") by Norbert Jacques. The novel benefitted from unprecedented publicity and quickly became a best-seller. Lang, already an accomplished director, worked with his wife Thea von Harbou on a revision of the novel to bring it to the screen, where it also became a great success. The film Dr. Mabuse, der Spieler (1922), with a playing time of more than four hours, was released in two sections: Dr. Mabuse, the Gambler, an Image of the Times and Inferno, People of the Times.

After the great successes of the novel and the movie, it was almost a decade before anything more was done with the character. Jacques had been working on a sequel to the novel, named Mabuse's Colony, in which Mabuse has died and a group of his devotees are starting an island colony, based on the principles described by Mabuse's manifesto. However, the novel was unfinished. After conversations with Lang and von Harbou, Jacques agreed to discontinue the novel and the sequel instead became the 1933 movie Das Testament des Dr. Mabuse, in which the Mabuse of 1920 (still played by Rudolf Klein-Rogge) is an inmate in an insane asylum but has for some time been obsessively writing meticulous plans for crime and terrorism—plans that are being performed by a gang of criminals outside the asylum, who receive their orders from a person who has identified himself to them only as Dr. Mabuse.

A new Dr. Mabuse story appeared in Bold Venture Press pulp magazine AWESOME Tales in [2016] wherein in 1939 an asylum, imprisoned Dr. Mabuse uses his powers to control Hitler. Inspector Lohmann, now a reluctant Gestapo investigator, gets wind of this and attempts to prevent chaos.


An independent film, Doctor Mabuse, written and directed by Ansel Faraj, had its world premiere on April 27, 2013, at the Coronado Village Theater in San Diego, California. The film stars Jerry Lacy as Dr. Mabuse, with his Dark Shadows co-stars Kathryn Leigh Scott as Madame Von Harbau, Lara Parker as Madame Carrozza, Nathan Wilson as Inspector Carl Lohemann, and Linden Chiles as Inspector Von Wenk.[1] The film is an original story inspired by the character of Mabuse.[2] On November 1, 2012, the first teaser trailer for the film was released online.[3] On May 9, 2015, the film was released to watch on YouTube, free of charge. [4]

Doctor Mabuse: Etiopomar, again written, directed and produced by Ansel Faraj with Jerry Lacy, Nathan Wilson, Linden Chiles, Lara Parker and Kathryn Leigh Scott reprising their roles, is currently available in video-demand format on Vimeo.[5]


  • Kalat, David, The strange case of Dr. Mabuse: a study of the twelve movies and five novels, Jefferson, North Carolina: McFarland, 2001, ISBN 0786423374.

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  2. ^ The film is an original story and is not a remake of any previous Mabuse films nor is it connected to the originals. However Ansel Faraj said that there are a few homages to the earlier films, but these are done in a "different style than Lang".
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