Director: FRITZ LANG

116 minutes| Germany| 1932| Subtitled| Black and White| DVD

‘All clues lead to the asylum,’ says Inspector Lohmann (Otto Wernick), the policeman who pursued M and who is now investigating a series of crimes that seem to be linked to the insane, incarcerated Dr. Mabuse (Rudolf Klein-Rogge), whose hypnotic power mysteriously extends beyond the asylum walls. Lang was to claim that the film was an allegory of Fascism, about a madman seeking world domination: whether contemporary audiences grasped the message is a moot point, though the film was banned by the Nazis and precipitated the director’s abrupt departure to America. Whatever its political implications, the film works as a compelling thriller, with a superb wordless opening as a terrified police-spy in hiding tries to communicate his fears to the outside world, and a final nightmarish chase across a blasted backdrop where even the trees look demented. There is also a tender, tentative love story in there, but it tends to be submerged by the paranoia.

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