Dr. Mabuse

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Dr. Mabuse is a German silent science fiction film of 1922, directed by Fritz Lang. The film is a classic of the expressionist cinema German, and is considered one of the most important films of its era.

The plot of the film follows the adventures of Dr. Mabuse, a brilliant and dangerous criminal who manipulates people and situations for his own gain. Mabuse uses his wits and dexterity to carry out a series of spectacular crimes, including jewel theft, assassination and forgery of documents.

The film is known for its dark and eerie atmosphere, which is created through the use of special effects, light and shadow, and a sinister soundtrack. The character of Dr. Mabuse has become an icon of German cinema, and has inspired numerous films and television series.

Dr. Mabuse was a major commercial and critical success, and helped solidify Fritz Lang’s reputation as one of the foremost directors in German cinema. The film has also influenced popular culture, and inspired numerous fictional works, including comic books, novels, and video games.




The plot of the film “Dr. Mabuse” follows the story of the brilliant criminal Dr. Mabuse, who leads a series of attacks on Berlin society in the early 1920s.

Mabuse is a criminal mastermind who has created a vast crime network, including scams, thefts, extortion and assassinations. Initially, Mabuse appears to be just a wealthy gambler, but it is soon revealed that he is behind most of the crimes that are taking place in the city.

Police Commissioner Wenk is assigned to investigate the series of crimes and decides to focus on Mabuse’s activities. Wenk soon discovers that Mabuse has created a secret criminal organization, which has control over much of the city.

Meanwhile, Dr. Mabuse falls in love with a young dancer named Cara Carozza, who becomes his accomplice in his criminal activities. Mabuse uses his powers of hypnotism to control Cara and force her to commit crimes for him.

Wenk and his police team manage to discover Dr. Mabuse’s identity and trap him, but the criminal is able to break out of prison and begins planning his revenge against Wenk.

Mabuse organizes a series of attacks against Wenk and those close to him, seeking revenge for being captured. Eventually, Wenk is able to defeat Mabuse and put an end to his criminal activities.

The plot of the film is characterized by a strong tension and suspense, thanks to the presence of the genius criminal who always seems to be one step ahead of the police. Furthermore, the film is known for its use of innovative techniques such as image superimposition and the use of filters, which create a surreal and dreamlike atmosphere.



“Dr. Mabuse” presents a series of very well defined and characterized characters, which contribute to making the film a complex and fascinating story.

The main character is Dr. Mabuse, a masterful and manipulative criminal who has the power to control the minds of his victims. Mabuse represents the embodiment of evil, a dark and mysterious character who inspires fear and anxiety. His figure is particularly fascinating because it represents absolute power and the ability to manipulate others for one’s own purposes.

Countering Dr. Mabuse is the character of Detective Wenk, played by Bernhard Goetzke, who tries to expose his evil plans and knock him out. Wenk is a strong and determined character, but at the same time tormented and restless. His fight against Mabuse represents the conflict between good and evil, between justice and injustice.

Alongside these two main characters there are many other characters that help make the plot more interesting and complex. Among them are Mabuse’s accomplices, who help him carry out his evil plans, and Wenk’s girlfriend, who involuntarily gets involved in the events.


Film Production

Pre-production of the film began with Norbert Jacques writing the screenplay. The character of Doctor Mabuse had already been created by Jacques previously, in a series of detective novels. The screenplay was then adapted for the cinema by Fritz Lang and Thea von Harbou, who were already known for their collaboration on the film “Metropolis”. The screenplay was written in order to create a gripping and suspenseful storyline that is suitable for the cinematic format.

After writing the script, director Fritz Lang selected actors for the lead roles. Rudolf Klein-Rogge was chosen to play the role of Dr. Mabuse, due to his ability to create creepy and disturbing characters. The rest of the cast was selected through auditions, and included such actors as Aud Egede-Nissen, Gertrude Welcker, and Bernhard Goetzke.

Once the cast had been selected, the crew set about location scouting to find suitable locations for filming. The film was mainly shot in Berlin, but other locations around the city were also used. Cinematographer Karl Freund worked with Fritz Lang to choose the best camera angles and define the right lighting for each scene.

The film’s design was handled by art director Otto Hunte, who created the environments and objects featured in the film’s scenes. His work was essential in creating the dark and surreal atmosphere of the film. Costume designer Gertrud Krause instead took care of the costumes of the characters, adapting them to the historical period in which the story is set.

During filming, director Fritz Lang worked closely with the actors to create the desired performances. The film also uses many special effects, such as image superimposition and the use of filters, to create an eerie atmosphere and surreal. The soundtrack of the film was composed by Giuseppe Becce, who used instruments such as piano, violin and flute to create an eerie and mysterious atmosphere.

Distribution and Reception


The film “Dr. Mabuse” was released in Germany in 1922 by UFA, the largest film production company in the country. The film was a great success with audiences and critics, becoming one of the greatest successes of German cinema at the time.

Its international distribution took place shortly after, with the film being translated into several languages, including English and French. Even abroad, the film was received positively and was appreciated for the originality of its plot and for the innovative techniques used.

The film was particularly praised for the performance of actor Rudolf Klein-Rogge, who played the role of criminal genius Dr. Mabuse with great intensity and charisma. Klein-Rogge thus became one of the most famous actors in German cinema of the time and played the role of Mabuse in other films of the series.

The success of the film led to the creation of other films on the figure of Mabuse, thus creating a real film saga. “Dr. Mabuse” thus became a classic of German cinema and one of the most important films of the silent film era.

Furthermore, the film had a great influence on later cinema, influencing numerous directors and screenwriters around the world. The figure of the genius criminal and his fight with the police has become a classic of the thriller genre and inspired many other cinematic works.

Style and Influence

“Dr. Mabuse” was one of the most innovative films of its era, both in terms of storytelling and cinematic style. In fact, director Fritz Lang used numerous innovative techniques to create a disturbing and surreal atmosphere, which would become a distinctive element of his future works.

In particular, the film is notable for its use of advanced editing techniques, such as the superimposition of images, alternate editing and the use of extreme details to create a sense of tension and suspense. Furthermore, the film uses various photography and lighting techniques, including the use of shadows and filters to create a dreamlike atmosphere.

The use of these elements made the film a masterpiece of expressionist cinema, an art movement born in Germany in the first half of the 20th century. Expressionism was characterized by the use of distorted shapes and strong colors, with the aim of representing the emotions and moods of the characters.

Furthermore, “Dr. Mabuse” has influenced genre cinema, especially thriller cinema and film noir, which have taken up the figure of the brilliant criminal and his conflict with the police. The character of Dr. Mabuse has become an archetype of the genre, inspiring numerous other cinematic works.

Ultimately, the film had a significant impact on the career of director Fritz Lang, who would go on to become one of the greatest directors in the history of cinema. Lang continued to explore similar themes in his future work, notably in his acclaimed films ‘M’ and ‘Metropolis’. His influence on the history of cinema has been enormous, influencing many subsequent directors and becoming a point of reference for many cinematic movements.




Fritz Lang was one of the greatest directors of the cinema history. Born in Austria in 1890, he began his career in the German silent cinema of the 1920s, becoming one of the leading exponents of the expressionist movement.

Lang distinguished himself for his ability to create eerie and surreal atmospheres, using innovative editing, photography and lighting techniques. His films often focus on complex themes, such as crime, justice and power.

Among his most famous works are “Dr. Mabuse”, “M – the monster of Düsseldorf” and “Metropolis”. Lang continued to direct until the 1960s, when he retired.

His influence on the history of cinema has been enormous, influencing many subsequent directors and becoming a point of reference for many cinematic movements. His ability to create atmosphere and his attention to detail have made him one of the great masters of cinema.

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