Lang’s final film finds him back in Germany, making a cheap-looking b-movie callback to one of his largest silent features and his pioneering second sound film. Immediately following his Indian Epic, another serials-inspired adventure flick, it seems that either Lang’s artistically triumphant two decades in Hollywood have earned him no respect and he’s been kicked down to making silly action flicks – or maybe these are the kinds of movies he’d been wanting to make again. Seems like the former, a bland assignment for a tired old man, since the plotting is snappy but this lacks the atmosphere and interest of Franju’s Judex a few years later.
Wolfgang Preiss, who would continue playing Mabuse throughout the 60’s and appear in Chabrol’s Dr. M:
Movie starts with a flutter of things happening. Inspector Kras speaks with a blind psychic named Cornelius, snipers are ordered by a clubfooted kingpin to kill a reporter in rush hour traffic, and the cops declare that Dr. Mabuse’s crime legacy was forgotten in the wake of the whole nazi thing. Then billionaire Travers talks a suicidal woman named Menil down from a ledge while an insurance salesman called Mistelzweig bothers everyone down at the bar.
Mistelzweig: Werner Peters, a Mabuse film regular
fake-suicidal Dawn Addams, who followed-up by playing Jekyll/Hyde’s wife in a Hammer film:
The billionaire falls for the pretty suicidal girl (and is shown a secret one-way mirror where he can watch her) while the inspector fends off assassination attempts while investigating the crime-ridden fancy hotel where those two are staying. Anyway, the psychic is the girl’s psychiatrist is Mabuse, Mistelzweig is an undercover cop, the girl is a Mabuse plant who gets the billionaire to fake-kill her fake-husband, and all this leads where it must: to a confession of evil plans in an underground lair and a car chase/shootout.
Inspector Gert Frobe, who would run into another master criminal years later in Nuits Rouges:
Henchman Howard Vernon, a Jean-Pierre Melville regular and title star of The Awful Dr. Orlof:
According to Wikipedia, based on a novel written in Esperanto. I’d like to hear the Masters of Cinema commentary with David Kalat, but I’ve already bought the other two Lang-Mabuse movies domestically, so it seems nuts to buy the UK box set for $60.