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Die Tausend Augen des Dr. Mabuse

The Thousand Eyes of Dr. Mabuse
Diabolical Dr. Mabuse / Eyes of Evil / The Shadow vs the Thousand Eyes of Dr. Mabuse

West Germany/France/Italy 1960
produced by
Artur Brauner, Fritz Lang, Alfred Bittins (executive) for CCC Filmkunst, CEI Incom, Critérion Film
directed by Fritz Lang
starring Dawn Addams, Peter van Eyck, Gert Fröbe, Wolfgang Preiss (also as Lupo Prezzo), Werner Peters, Andrea Checchi, Marielouise Nagel, Reinhard Kolldehoff, Howard Vernon, Nico Pepe, David Cameron, Renate Küster, Rolf Weih, Rolf Möbius, Lotti Alberti, Manfred Grothe, Maria Milde, Albert Bessler, Jean-Jacques Delbo, Linda Sini
screenplay by Fritz Lang, Heinz Oskar Wuttig, based on a story by Jan Fethke, music by Gerhard Becker, Bert Grund

Dr. Mabuse, CCC-Filmkunst's Dr. Mabuse

review by
Mike Haberfelner

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A string of murders has just one thing in common: all those murdered have stayed in the Hotel Luxor, the best place in town, for a few nights. Meanwhile, at the hotel, an attractive young woman, Marion Menil (Dawn Addams) wants to throw herself out of a window to her death, & only Travers (Peter van Eyck), an American industrialist who is involved in the production of atom bombs, is able to dissuade her from taking her own life. He even wants to take the woman into his care, & it soon becomes clear he has fallen in love with her ...

Meanwhile commissioner Kras (Gert Fröbe), who investigates the unsolved murders - & while doing so has stumbled over the name of German pre-war mastercriminal Dr.Mabuse -, has narrowed his circle of suspects down to three people: Marion Menil, who might just as well have faked her suicide attempt, the insurance agent Mistelzweig (Werner Peters), who always seems to be at the center of things & has pretty much put up shop at the hotel Luxor, & blind soothsayer & medium Cornelius (Wolfgang Preiss), who just knows a tad too much, even for a soothsayer. & it seems one of Kras' hunches is right, as soon a bomb blows up his office & kills his assistant ...

Later, Kras is invited to a seance at Cornelius', & he decides to bring both Mistelzweig & Marion Menil with him ... & he is almost shot from the outside, but the bullet was actually meant for Cornelius. Or indeed was it ... ?

Back at the Luxor, the hotel detective Berg (Andrea Checchi), knowing that Travers cares for Marion Menil, shows him a little extra that a previous guest had built into the room next to Marion's: a two-way mirror. This way, Berg tells Travers,, he can watch over Marion all the time, withoput her knowing it ... Travers is shocked, but rents the room anyways ...

Soon, Marion learns that her husband Roberto (Reinhard Kolldehoff), a violent man she has tried to escape from for months, has picked up her trail & now comes to get her. Travers watches from the next room, & sees Roberto threten her with a knife & beating her up ... which is when Travers jumps through the window, picks up the gun Marion was forced to drop by her husband, & guns Roberto down. For some reason, noone seems to have heard the shot, so Travers & Marion can calmly decide what to do with the body - & soon she figures her personal doctor Jordan (Wolfgang Preiss) might help her ... & indeed, five minutes later, Jordan is here & has already brought an ambulance, & hotel detective Berg, who will do anything for money, helps them to get the body out of the hotel ...

Later, in the ambulance though, Roberto turns out not to be dead at all but one of Mabuse's henchmen ... but another one of Mabuse's henchmen cold bloodedly shoots him dead anyways.

Back at the hotel, Travers starts to have second thoughts:

How come Jordan did manage to get here quite as fast as he did ?

& why was he quite so helpful with something as grave as getting rid of a corpse & hush up a homicide ?

& didn't Marion when calling him dial a number from inside the hotel ?

Marion begs him to shut up, as in this hotel, all of the rooms are equipped with short circuit cameras which are indeed controlled by Doctor Mabuse, & yes, Marion indeed is one of Mabuse's agent, who was supposed to marry Travers & then jkill him so that Mabuse could get his hands on Travers' atom bombs ... But now - need I say it - she has fallen in love with him & wants to help him make good a getaway - but alas too late, Mabuse's henchmen are already after them, & soon they are incarcerated in a asecret room beneath the hotel, Mabuse's headquarters, where Mabuse, who turns out to be both Cornelius & Doctor Jordan, wants to starve them to death for having spoiled his plans.

In the meantime though, the police has already arrived at the hotel, wanting to search the place as a few too many trails lead there, but Mabuse, in a new disguise, seems to be getting away scot-free, as the police doesn't even take notice of the elderly gentleman he is now ... only Mistelzweig, who now toruns out not to be an insurance- but an Interpol-agent, has put two & two together & put Kras on the right track ... & soon enough, Kras is pursuing Mabuse & his henchmen in a wild car chase that ends with Mabuse's car falling off a bridge, with no hope for survivors ...

Meanwhile, back at the hotel,. Mistelzweig can force hotel detective Berg, whom he has identified as one of Mabuse's men, to show him Mabuse's underground hide-out, where he shoots it out with Mabuse's henchmen & ultimately frees Travers & Marion ... & the day is saved !

 

After his luck in the USA seems to have run out, Fritz Lang returned to Germany for a trio of films, the adventure films Das Indische Grabmal/The Indian Tomb & Der Tiger von Eschnapur/The Tiger of Eschnapur, & of course Die Tausend Augen des Dr.Mabuse/The Thousand Eyes of Dr.Mabuse, which would also be his last film ever. None of these films would however reach the quality of either his German classics like Metropolis or M or his best American films like Hangmen also Die, The Woman in the Window or Scarlet Street.

That is not to say however that The Thousand Eyes of Dr.Mabuse is not ok genre entertainment., it's a tight well-played thriller that delivers all the punches on a budget. Actually this film wasn't even meant to be the triumphant return of Fritz Lang to Germany, but a desperate attempt of Artur Brauner of CCC-Filmkunst to establish a series of his own that would be able to compete with Rialto's Edgar Wallace series. The attempt of resurrecting pre-war criminal Dr.Mabuse obviously seemed a good idea in that respect, & it did prove reasonably successful, as CCC-Filmkunst followed this one with 6 more Mabuse-films (even if the last one, Jess Franco's rather dull Mabuse 70/La venganza del Dr Mabuse from 1970 is often ommitted from Mabuse-filmographies). Fritz Lang was involved in none of the later Mabuse-films.

 

 

review © by Mike Haberfelner

 

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Tales to Chill
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Tales to Chill
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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