Dr. Mabuse

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Dr. Mabuse is a fictional character created by Norbert Jacques in the German novel Dr. Mabuse der Spieler ("Dr. Mabuse the Gambler"), and made famous by three films about the character directed by Fritz Lang: Dr. Mabuse the Gambler (silent, 1922) The Testament of Dr. Mabuse (1933) and the much later The Thousand Eyes of Dr. Mabuse (1960).

Although the character was deliberately written 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 film The Cabinet of Dr. Caligari (1920) had done just a few years previously.

Description[edit]

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 that 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 the 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.

History[edit]

Mabuse first appeared in the 1921 German novel Dr. Mabuse der Spieler ("Dr. Mabuse the Gambler") by Norbert Jacques. The novel benefitted from unprecedented publicity and quickly became a best-seller. Fritz 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 the Gambler (1922), with a playing time of more than four hours, was released in two sections: The Great Gambler: An Image of the Time and Inferno: A Game for the People of our Age.

Despite the success of the novel and the film, 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 The Testament of Dr. Mabuse, in which the Mabuse of 1920 – played again 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.

Filmography[edit]

English title Original title Release date Ref(s)
Dr. Mabuse the Gambler: Part I — The Great Gambler: A Picture of the Time Dr. Mabuse, der Spieler I: Der große Spieler. Ein Bild der Zeit   27 April 1922 [1]
Dr. Mabuse the Gambler: Part II — Inferno: A Game for the People of our Age Dr. Mabuse, der Spieler II: Inferno. Ein Spiel von Menschen unserer Zeit 26 May 1922 [2]
The Testament of Dr. Mabuse Das Testament des Dr. Mabuse April 1933 [3]
Le testament du docteur Mabuse Le testament du docteur Mabuse April 21 1933 [4]
The Thousand Eyes of Dr. Mabuse Die 1000 Augen des Dr. Mabuse September 14, 1960 [5]
The Invisible Dr. Mabuse Die unsichtbaren Krallen des Dr. Mabuse March 30, 1962 [6]
The Testament of Dr. Mabuse Das Testament des Dr. Mabuse September 7, 1962 [7]
Scotland Yard vs. Dr. Mabuse Scotland Yard jagt Dr. Mabuse September 20, 1963 [8]
The Secret of Dr. Mabuse Die Todesstrahlen des Dr. Mabuse September 18, 1964 [9]
The Vengeance of Dr. Mabuse La venganza del Doctor 1970 [10]
Dr. M Docteur M 1990 [11]

References[edit]

Notes

  1. ^ "Dr. Mabuse, der Spieler I: Der große Spieler. Ein Bild der Zeit". Filmportal.de. Retrieved July 19, 2019.
  2. ^ "Dr. Mabuse, der Spieler I: Der große Spieler. Ein Bild der Zeit". Filmportal.de. Retrieved July 19, 2019.
  3. ^ "Das Testament des Dr. Mabuse". Filmportal.de. Retrieved July 19, 2019.
  4. ^ "Das Testament des Dr. Mabuse". Filmportal.de. Retrieved July 19, 2019.
  5. ^ "Die 1000 Augen des Dr. Mabuse". Filmportal.de. Retrieved July 19, 2019.
  6. ^ "Die unsichtbaren Krallen des Dr. Mabuse". Filmportal.de. Retrieved July 19, 2019.
  7. ^ "Das Testament des Dr. Mabuse". Filmportal.de. Retrieved July 19, 2019.
  8. ^ "Scotland Yard jagt Dr. Mabuse". Filmportal.de. Retrieved July 19, 2019.
  9. ^ "Die Todesstrahlen des Dr. Mabuse". Filmportal.de. Retrieved July 19, 2019.
  10. ^ "Dr. M schlägt zu". Filmportal.de. Retrieved July 19, 2019.
  11. ^ "Dr". Filmportal.de. Retrieved July 19, 2019.

Further reading

  • Kalat, David (2001) The Strange Case of Dr. Mabuse: A Study of the Twelve Movies and Five Novels. Jefferson, North Carolina: McFarland. ISBN 0786423374.

External links[edit]