Dr. Mabuse, The Gambler [Import]
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All the famous scenes or shots that are missing from other editions appear to be there: the cabaret sequence is complete with all the naughty (for the time) bits that were censored in many prints; Mabuse's lecture to other scholars, often omitted, is present and brief as it is, it establishes his credentials as a real psychoanalyst turned criminal ; we have the opening overhead shot of the seance, apparently missing from the Image Entertainment edition; the exchange between Mabuse and the Count regarding expressionism has been preserved; in fact, all the set pieces and memorable images I remember from the various edits I have seen over the years are also present.
The only missing sequence would be the original opening which, if we are to believe Lang's description, was a montage of robberies and other deeds, with the repeated question "Who is responsible?" and Mabuse answering triumphantly "Me!". Too bad this could not be restored, although we do not really miss it considering the thrilling pace of the opening robbery, even if the synchronization of some events is rather improbable. There are those who believe however that Lang's memory played tricks with him and that the was recalling instead the opening montage of "Spies", which is indeed very similar to what he described.
As far as extras, we do not have any commentary track. Those harking for the David Kalat comments will either need to also own the Image Entertainment DVD or be content with the shorter content in Kalat's book.Read more ›
Sergei Eisenstein was an admirer of Dr. Mabuse the Gambler, and supposedly he obtained a copy and studied its construction. I can only assume that the picture had a influence on other filmmakers around the world; it has a much more modern feel than any film I've seen from the early 20s. The pace is quick (at least in the first part), the cross-cutting between scenes is sophisticated, there is great attention to detail in the sets, and it rarely has the "stagy" feel that many silent films suffer from. If one had to point to one element that puts it ahead of its time, it would be its overall construction--the way the various shots and scenes are put together to create the story. Dr. Mabuse the Gambler creates a sense of both time and space; many things happen simultaneously in the movie-world, and the locales we see are not two-dimensional stage sets but rather three-dimensional spaces where we peer around corners and follow the characters from one room to the next. The only silent filmmaker I can think of who lavished so much attention on creating a credible world is Erich von Stroheim, though one could argue that that filmmaker should have taken a lesson from the economy of Lang's storytelling.
In addition to its status as a landmark film, Dr. Mabuse the Gambler is also truly entertaining, particularly the first part. There are car and train chases, riotous gambling dens, memorable bit characters, and some great special effects. The basic story of good versus evil is compelling. Dr.Read more ›
The commentary is terrific.
What separates film noir from the standard crime or gangster film? Psychology. Where the common criminal is simply interested in money, the film noir villain has a profound understanding of human nature and enjoys playing with the lives of others as much for pleasure as for gain.
The year is 1922. The place is post WW I Germany. It was a time of inflation so great and so accelerated that a loaf of bread costing a mere 20 thousand marks in the morning could be priced at 5 million marks by evening. Restaurant prices skyrocketed while diners were eating. Businesses paid their workers twice a day so their money would have some buying power. By November of 1923, it took 4.2 trillion German marks to buy a single American dollar. Moral chaos ensued.
To set the amoral mood of DR. MABUSE, people are shown climbing the ladder of success by exploiting the vices of others. But no value judgments are made. We see only that vice is profitable, not that it is wrong or right. The economic instability of the period gives rise to extraordinary moral decadence: a dancer performs a stage show with blatant sexual imagery; drug addicts are everyday characters, and prostitute children are openly soliciting in the streets. It's indicative of this film's milieu that even the good characters are allowed to enjoy Schadenfreude-----------pleasure at the misfortunes of others. The Countess Tolst, for instance, enjoys watching the faces of gamblers when they lose at cards------showing that even angels become devils when they live in the hell of social chaos.
The German people of 1922 needed a savior to believe in. But he didn't have to have wings and a halo. He could be a criminal mastermind. Dr. Mabuse is such a man.Read more ›
Most recent customer reviews
A wonderful restoration of Fritz Lang's masterpiece. One of the truly great silent films.Published 13 months ago by Michael bauer
As of June 2004 you need to wait and think before you buy this DVD. In it's favour it has a fantastic commentary by David Kalat. Against it, it's not a complete version. Read morePublished on June 18 2004 by Mr. S. G. Brown
I am became interested in this film largely because of its director Fritz Lang. I had always enjoyed Metropolis (I now own the Kino release which is nothing short of breath taking... Read morePublished on Oct. 19 2003 by Mark Young
One of the most famous master criminal in history (fictional, of course), the shadow of Dr.Mabuse still lurks around this world; today, maybe more than ever. Read morePublished on Aug. 29 2001 by Toshifumi Fujiwara
David Shepherd has don a favor for film fans by bringing us the most complete version of Dr Mabuse The Gambler yet available. Read morePublished on Aug. 28 2001 by Eric Stott
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