This is the definitive version of Lang’s DR. MABUSE, THE GAMBLER, restored in 2000 by Germany’s F. W. Murnau Foundation. Previously unavailable in the U.S., this Murnau/Kino version runs approximately 40 minutes longer than the 229-minute cut currently available to U.S. custumers, and it brings more than 25 minutes of additional footage as well a significant re-arrangement of the film’s structure. Running at a mammoth 270 minutes, Lang’s DR. MABUSE comes in a two-disc set also containing a plethora of special features, such as three behind-the-scenes featurettes totaling over 50 minutes of video material – one section focuses on the film’s music, another on Norbert Jacques, the literary inventor of Dr. Mabuse, and the final section tackles the film itself.
Reconstructed from two camera negatives – one found in Germany and another owned by a foreign distributor – DR. MABUSE, THE GAMBLER was carefully re-assembled to its original glory and is finally available in a high-quality transfer; with sharper visuals and more pristine, black and white images. New intertitles were taken from the original negatives; missing, faulty or non-usable titles were completed, corrected or restored using censorship records. Restoration and reconstruction took place in 2000 as a cooperation between the film archive of the German Federal Archive (Bundesarchiv-Filmarchiv), Berlin, the Filmmuseum Munchen, and the Fredrich-Wilhelm-Murnau-Stiftung, Wiesbaden.
Among the never-before-seen scenes available in this new version, some depict Mabuse’s manipulation of characters and events. Others, showcase State Attorney Von Wenk’s attempts to unravel the mysteries surrounding the villain. Basically, the story makes more sense in the longer version: for instance, we see Dr. Mabuse putting on make-up before his acts of psychological terrorism, whereas the abridged version, assumes that Mabuse’s identity is always clear and easy to identify. Kino/Murnau’s version also includes title cards that help the spectator navigate through what is otherwise a fairly complicated plot.
A truly legendary silent film, Dr. Mabuse, the Gambler (aka Dr. Mabuse, der Spieler) had a major impact on the development of the crime thriller, building upon the work of the pioneering French film serialist Louis Feuillade (Les Vampires, Judex) and firmly establishing it as a significant film genre. This epic two-part tale was originally released simultaneously as two separate films, respectively subtitled The Great Gambler and Inferno, and that format is reproduced here. The plot revolves around the pursuit of arch fiend Dr. Mabuse, a gambler, psychoanalyst, hypnotist, master of disguises and all-around criminal mastermind. Mabuse was the prototype for the sort of evil genius super-villains that would later become commonplace in movies, whether it be in the James Bond pictures or in comic book adaptations like Superman and Batman. Appropriately, the film is dominated by the presence of Rudolf Klein-Rogge as Mabuse. A top German actor of the silent era, he is best known today for his performance as the mad scientist Rotwang in Lang’s Metropolis. Dr. Mabuse, the Gambler contains many of the elements that were expected from the crime genre at the time, including characters who slip in and out of disguise, mind control, gambling clubs, automobiles with rotating license plates, exotic women, brutal henchmen and unexpected plot twists. Lang’s directorial ability to handle such pulp material in a masterful fashion, while also using it as a way to examine the decadence of Germany in the 1920s, reaffirms his status as one of the true greats of the silent era.
- NTSC Region 1
* “The Story Behind Dr. Mabuse” (52 min., in German w/ English subtitles)
* Stills Gallery
* Fritz lang Biography / Filmography
* Film Notes
Transit film GMBH in cooperation with the
* Restoration of the film (2000)
Bundesarchiv-Filmarchiv Berlin, Filmmuseum im Stadtmuseum
Munchen and Friedrich-Wilhelm-Murnau-Stiftung
Aijoscha Zimmerman & Ensemble