Tuesday, November 10, 2015

Sight & Sound Challenge: The Testament of Dr. Mabuse (1933)

Film: The Testament of Dr. Mabuse (55/250) 
Critics Poll: 235th 
Directors Poll: 546th 
First Time/Rewatch: First Time 

I was apprehensive going into this one. This is a sequel to Dr. Mabuse: The Gambler (1922) which I haven't seen, and I was worried that I would be out of the loop. Apparently there are a million Dr. Mabuse films, who knew? I hadn't seen any of them, but it wasn't really necessary. The story focuses on a crime wave that has hit Berlin with evidence pointing to the evil mastermind Dr. Mabuse, who has been in an insane asylum for the past decade. He has been silent, scribbling plans on scraps of paper. How is he orchestrating these crimes from inside his prison? It's an interesting premise but the plot tends to wander, jump around, and get lost here and there. What the film really has going for it is some seriously creepy imagery. A vision of Dr. Mabuse with huge bug-like eyes. A delirious man hallucinating, calling for help, seeing men coming after him. A possessed man driving wildly down a black road, a ghostly Dr. Mabuse pointing the way. It's worth seeing for those shots alone. A flawed film, definitely, but a visually interesting one. The best thing about this Sight & Sound challenge has been all of this gorgeous new-to-me eye candy to feast on. And nobody can accuse a Fritz Lang film of being visually uninteresting, can they?

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