Fritz Lang’s Das Testament des Dr. Mabuse is a sumptuously shot thriller, which was banned by Joseph Goebbels shortly after its Berlin premiere in 1933.
Mabuse (a sequel to Lang’s 1922 film, Dr. Mabuse the Gambler) follows the investigation into mysterious crimes which appear to be the work of master criminal, Dr. Mabuse. However, the criminal genius in question is locked away in an insane asylum – how is managing to do it?
Das Testament des Dr. Mabuse is a genuine thriller, the standout sequence being the stunning opening portion. Lang ratchets up the tension, you’ll be at the edge of your seat and that’s where you’ll stay for the rest of the film. While my above synopsis sounds rather straight forward, the film has quite a complex narrative and many over-lapping characters, which will again keep the viewer hooked, trying to guess where the plot is headed.
This Masters of Cinema release looks fantastic on Blu-ray, the striking sets and black and white visuals being a treat for the eyes. Much of the film was lost following its 1933 banning, and this restored version is the closest that you’ll get to the version which premiered in Berlin before Goebbels yanked it from release, believing that the film could potentially cause political unrest.
The Blu-ray comes with an in-depth 52 page booklet, while the only feature on the disc is a fascinating commentary by David Kalat.