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Im Stahlnetz des Dr. Mabuse

The Return of Dr. Mabuse
FBI contro Dottor Mabuse / Le Retour du Docteur Mabuse / Phantom Fiend / The FBI vs Dr.Mabuse

West Germany/France/Italy 1961
produced by
Artur Brauner, Wolf Brauner (executive) for CCC-Filmkunst, Critérion Film, SpA Cinematografica
directed by Harald Reinl
starring Gert Fröbe, Lex Barker, Daliah Lavi, Fausto Tozzi, Werner Peters, Wolfgang Preiss, Rudolf Forster, Rudolf Fernau, Joachim Mock, Laura Solari, Ady Berber, Henry Coubet, Jean-Roger Caussimon, Albert Bessler, Lou Seitz, Zeev Berlinsky, Alexander Engel, Herbert Weissbach
written by Marc Behm, Ladislas Fodor, music by Peter Sandloff

Dr. Mabuse, CCC-Filmkunst's Dr. Mabuse, Kommissar Lohmann, Joe Como

review by
Mike Haberfelner

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Several murders are committed, and all inspector Lohmann (Gert Froebe) can find are clues leading either to warden Wolf's (Fausto Tozzi) prison or to the (thought) dead Dr Mabuse (Wolfgang Preiss). Soon Lohmann is joined by FBI-agent Joe Como (Lex Barker), who might though actually be a spy of the Chicago Syndicate and who concentrates more on investigating the background of Maria Sabrehm (Daliah Lavi), a reporter who seemingly has nothing to do with the case.

Eventually though, it is found out that Maria's father Professor Sabrehm (Julius Forster) was actually once a big-shot scientist who has been thrown into the slammer though for treason - and of course it's warden Wolf's prison, where he is even allowed to play with nitro glycerine.

So who is Mabuse (always assuming he is still alive) ?

Sabrehm ?

Prison Priest Briefenstein (Rudolf Fernau) ?

Assistant warden Böhmler (Werner Peters) ?

Or Wolf himself ? - Well, no not Wolf, he is blown up in his car ...

Eventually, Lohmann decides to throw Joe Como into prison to find that out, and Como has soon figured out that Sabrehm is forced to produce a serum that turns the convicts into zombies and has them doing Mabuse's bidding ... and Mabuse plans to blow up the atomic power plant this very night - thank god Como finds a way to warn Lohmann and the police ...
The finale has Como and Maria locked up in a room that is then flooded (but they of course both manage to escape) while Lohmann and his men have a shoot-out with Mabuse's zombified convicts, who eventually give uo once the cops shoot the guy giving them their commands.

Mabuse of course escapes, but Lohmann manages to hunt him down to the railroad tracks, where he unmasks him to find out it's Wolf, who hadn't died in his exploding car after all. But under Wolf's mask, Lohmann fidns the real Doctor Mabuse, who soon puts him out of commission and tries to run over him by train (unsuccessfully though) before he dies in a traincrash ... but did he die ?

 

Of course, this story about the notorious fictional German super criminal Dr Mabuse is pretty much as silly as it is convoluted, and it's hardly believable let alone realist ... heck, it's not even thought up all that well.

That said though, Im Stahlnetz des Dr.Mabuse is, within its limits, a pretty cool, well-crafted and darkly atmospheric sci-fi-thriller - the shoot-out between the zombie-convicts and the police towards the end alone is creepier than most of the things seen in contemporary horror films -, plus Gert Froebe in the lead beautifully carries the film.

 

review © by Mike Haberfelner

 

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Robots and rats,
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love and death and everything in between,
Tales to Chill
Your Bones to

is all of that.

 

Tales to Chill
Your Bones to
-
a collection of short stories and mini-plays
ranging from the horrific to the darkly humourous,
from the post-apocalyptic
to the weirdly romantic,
tales that will give you a chill and maybe a chuckle, all thought up by
the twisted mind of
screenwriter and film reviewer
Michael Haberfelner.

 

Tales to Chill
Your Bones to

the new anthology by
Michael Haberfelner

 

Out now from
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On the same day
a Burglar wants to kill you
and your Ex wants
to make up ...
... and for the life of it,
you can't decide
WHICH IS WORSE!!!

 

A Killer Conversation

produced by and starring
Melanie Denholme
directed by
David V.G. Davies
written by
Michael Haberfelner
starring
Ryan Hunter and
Rudy Barrow

out now on DVD