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The Complete Fritz Lang Mabuse Box Set

 
Dr. Mabuse, der Spieler - Ein Bild der Zeit (1922) aka Dr. Mabuse: The Gambler

Das Testament des Dr. Mabuse (1933) aka The Testament of Dr. Mabuse

Die 1000 Augen des Dr. Mabuse (1960) aka The Thousand Eyes of Dr. Mabuse

 

http://www.dvdbeaver.com/film/direct-chair/lang.htm

 

Fritz Lang's MABUSE films are among the great movie series of all time, and the complete trilogy is featured here in this collection. Included are both parts of Lang's epic 5-hour masterpiece DR. MABUSE: THE GAMBLER. The director/screenwriter deftly evokes the soiled and shoddy world of crime-infested and inflation-racked post World War I Berlin in the first installment. Employing his supreme powers of disguise and hypnosis, Dr. Mabuse (Rudolf Klein-Rogge) surrounds himself with loyal servants and criminal henchmen who assassinate his rivals, manipulate the stock market and seduce wealthy citizens out of their riches. The dark and mystical adventure of the criminal mastermind careens towards its stylised climax in the second installment.

The tenuous and terrified atmosphere of Germany on the eve of Nazi ascendancy is cleverly evoked in Lang's sequel to the 1922 film, THE TESTAMENT OF DR. MABUSE (1933). The film opens with Detective Hofmeister (Karl Meixner) spying on the activities of a criminal syndicate. Not realising he has been seen, Hofmeister is attacked by the thugs and later turns up out of his mind. He is placed in the institution of Professor Baum (Oscar Beregi), who becomes increasingly obsessed with another patient -- the master criminal and hypnotist Dr. Mabuse. As all of the characters speed chaotically towards the film's dark climax, the idea of a madman controlling a mass of hypnotised people and causing them to commit crimes that he premeditates creates a mystical and simultaneously potent political allegory of Lang's time.

Back in Germany for the first time since 1933, Lang returned to the screen character that brought him enormous success in his pre-Hollywood years. THE THOUSAND EYES OF DR.MABUSE (1960) is not so much a sequel as an extension of Lang's early Mabuse films. Set in 1960, the film begins with a series of unsolved murders in a Berlin hotel. The modus operandi of the murderer is the same as that of long-dead megalomaniac Dr. Mabuse. Police detective Gert Frobe and amateur sleuths Peter Van Eyck and Dawn Addams suspect that the killer is a man who believes that he is the reincarnation of Mabuse. Could the culprit be secretive insurance salesman Werner Peters, or blind seer Wolfgang Preiss?

 


Titles

 


 

From the early stages of his career across five decades to his final film, Fritz Lang built a trilogy of paranoiac thrillers focused on an entity who began as a criminal mastermind, and progressed into something more amorphous: fear itself, embodied only by a name Dr. Mabuse. For the first time on home video, all three of Fritz Lang's Mabuse films have been collected for one package, in their complete and restored forms. 1: Dr. Mabuse, der Spieler. [Dr. Mabuse, the Gambler.] (1922) Lang's two-part, nearly 5-hour silent epic detailing the rise and fall of Dr. Mabuse in Weimar-era Berlin. 2: Das Testament des Dr. Mabuse [The Testament of Dr. Mabuse] (1933) a tour-de-force thriller rife with supernatural elements, all converging around an attempt by the now-institutionalised Mabuse (or someone acting under his name... and possibly his will) to organise an 'Empire of Crime'. 3: Die 1000 Augen des Dr. Mabuse [The 1000 Eyes of Dr. Mabuse] (1960) Fritz Lang's final film, in which hypnosis, clairvoyance, surveillance, and machine-guns come together for a whiplash climax that answers the question: Who's channelling Mabuse's methods in the Cold War era? The Masters of Cinema Series is proud to present Fritz Lang's complete Mabuse trilogy a cornerstone in the work of one of cinema's all-time greatest directors.

 

SPECIAL FOUR-DISC BOX SET INCLUDING: * Original German-language intertitles for Dr. Mabuse, der Spieler., along with newly translated English-language subtitles for each film. * Newly recorded feature-length audio commentaries on all three movies by film-scholar and Fritz Lang expert David Kalat. * Three video-featurettes totalling an hour-and-a-half in length on: the score of Dr. Mabuse, der Spieler.; the creation of Norbert Jacques' 'Mabuse' character; and the motifs running throughout the works. * 2002 video interview with Wolfgang Preiss, the star of Die 1000 Augen des Dr. Mabuse. * An alternate ending to Die 1000 Augen des Dr. Mabuse taken from the French print of the film. * Optional English-language dub track for Die 1000 Augen des Dr. Mabuse. * Three lengthy booklets containing anew translation of Fritz Lang's 1924 lecture on 'Sensation Culture'; an essay by critic and scholar Michel Chion on the use of sound in Das Testament des Dr. Mabuse; new writing on Die 1000 Augen des Dr. Mabuse by critic David Cairns; extracts from period interviews with Fritz Lang; an abundance of production stills, illustrations, and marketing collateral and more!.

Posters and Video jackets

Theatrical Releases: 1922 - 1960

DVD Reviews

DVD Review: Eureka - Masters of Cinema (4-disc) - Region 0 - PAL

 

DVD Box Cover

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Distribution Eureka - Masters of Cinema spine #'s 89, 90, 91 - Region 0 - PAL
Time: Respectively - 2:35:30, 1:55:28, 1:56:20, + 1:39:45
Bitrate: The Gambler Disc 1
Bitrate: The Gambler Disc 2
Bitrate: Testament
Bitrate: 1000 Eyes
Audio German (original mono or 2.0 channel), Optional English DUB on 1000 Eyes
Subtitles English, None
Features

Release Information:
Studio: Eureka

Aspect Ratio:
All Original: Gambler 1.32:1, Testament
1.19:1, 1000 Eyes - 1.69 anamorphic

Edition Details:
One all three:
• New, officially licensed anamorphic transfer from restored materials
• New and improved optional English subtitles with original soundtrack
• Newly recorded feature-length audio commentaries by film-scholar and Lang expert David Kalat
On The Gambler
• Kalat Commentary

• Three video pieces: an interview with the composer of the restoration score (12;57), a discussion of Norbert Jacques (9:35), creator of Dr. Mabuse, and an examination of the film’s motifs in the context of German silent cinema (29:55)
• 32-PAGE BOOKLET featuring vintage reprints of writing by Lang
With Testament:
• 32-PAGE BOOKLET featuring reprints of writing by Michel Chion and excerpts of vintage interviews with Lang
With 1000 Eyes:
• 2002 video interview with actor Wolfgang Preiss (15;10)
• An alternate ending taken from the French print of the film (1:02)
• Optional English-language dub track, approved by Fritz Lang
• 36-PAGE BOOKLET featuring vintage reprints of writing by Lang, new writing by David Cairns, notes by Lotte Eisner on Lang’s final, unrealised projects

DVD Release Date: October 19th, 2009

Three transparent Keep cases inside a sturdy cardboard box
Chapters: 22, 20 + 14

 

Comments:

NOTE: The Testament of Dr. Mabuse Blu-ray is compared to existing DVD HERE.

In the past we have done DVD comparisons with the first two titles, Dr. Mabuse, the Gambler + The Testament of Dr. Mabuse. We've added some scattered comparative screen grabs below but generally speaking the new Masters of Cinema package appears significantly stronger than the hazier and muddy Kino editions, on par, or negligibly different, with the Criterion (for Testament), the German Universum on Testament was pictureboxed (as well as not having English subtitles) and I never owned the, well out-of-print, Image Entertainment, July 2000, release of 1000 Eyes - which doesn't take a large leap to surmise the anamorphic and progressive Eureka MoC transfer is superior.

Due to silent-standard frame rate conversion the first two discs, dividing the 4.5 hour Dr. Mabuse, The Gambler, show interlaced combing. I suspect that the transfers come from Transit Films (Murnau Stiftung) whose logo appears before the presentation, and, at present, are as good as are available anywhere. They look strong - bright enough to show background detail and avoid visible noise in monochromatic black backgrounds and have strong enough contrast to heighten sharpness to an acceptable level. The Criterion boosted black levels on their Testament just enough to notice and if MoC have done similar - they have been more gentle - reflecting a less-manipulated image. Damage still exists - but it is never such to hinder enjoyment and this image looks impressive. 1000 Eyes looks to have some green infiltration but is progressive and 16X9 enhanced. Bitrates hover around, a decent, 6-7.5 Mbps. I'm confident that the visual appearance of all three films is the best I'm likely to find prior to release in high-definition (one day - we hope).  

The three feature films of this boxset are all filmed in black and white and reside on 4 dual-layered, region 0 encoded, PAL DVD discs. They are all in, or about, their original aspect ratios - approximately 1.32:1 for The Gambler, 1.19 for Testament and close to 1.66 for 1000 Eyes. They have original mono audio (or 2.0 channel stereo) and each offer optional English subtitles in a white font (see samples below). The package (image above) consists of a cardboard box holding three transparent keep cases like both the MoC's Naruse and Keaton packages although each DVD case in the Mabuse set has it's own hefty liner notes booklet.

Audio was acceptable with music (Gambler has an excellent mono score by composer Aljoscha Zimmermann), a bit of hiss and inconsistencies on Testament (not notably worse or superior than the Criterion) and 1000 Eyes has an optional English DUB - although there is dubbing throughout the stronger German track as well with actors originally speaking different languages during filming (as often seen in a spaghetti western). I noted no fatal flaws being consistent and clear enough - supported with optional English subtitles.

 

Extras have some real value with commentaries on all three movies by film-scholar and Fritz Lang expert David Kalat author of The Strange Case of Dr. Mabuse. You couldn't ask for a more knowledgeable commentarist who I've recently heard on MoC's Murnau double feature of The Finances of the Grand Duke + Phantom and Kino's Scarlet Street. - the latter I revisited with the addition of the Odeon Entertainment DVD to the comparison. In the MoC set Kalat fills 8-hours worth of Lang/Mabuse films with fact after fact, anecdote after anecdote, detail after detail and plenty of opinions worthy of discussion. With The Gambler DVD package we get three, rehashed, video pieces on the second disc: an interview with Aljoscha Zimmermann on the restoration score for 13-minutes, a discussion of Norbert Jacques creator of Dr. Mabuse for 10:00, and an examination of the film’s motifs in the context of German silent cinema running just shy of 30-minutes. On 1000 Eyes we get a 1-minute alternate ending taken from the French print of the film, a 15-minute video interview with actor Wolfgang Preiss from 2002 and all three DVD boxsets have their own 32+ page booklet with photos, vintage reprints of writings by Lang, writing by Michel Chion and excerpts of vintage interviews with Lang and new writing by David Cairns, and notes by Lotte Eisner on Lang’s final, unrealized projects.

 

For those who haven't over-dosed on the good Doctor - both Gert Frobe and Peter van Eyck continued their Mabusery in a couple of the latter, non-Lang films in The Dr. Mabuse Collection - The Return of Dr. Mabuse (1961), The Invisible Dr. Mabuse (1962) and The Death Ray Mirror of Dr. Mabuse (1964) HERE.

 

This MoC package is a brilliant compilation - worthy of any film fan's collection. They have done it again with their penchant for detail, beautiful menus and liner notes booklets - another keepsake package ready to revisit when the mood strikes. Strongly recommended!

Gary W. Tooze

 


Packaging

 

Sample DVD Menus


Supplements


 

 

Dr. Mabuse, der Spieler - Ein Bild der Zeit (1922) aka Dr. Mabuse: The Gambler

 

http://www.dvdbeaver.com/film/direct-chair/lang.htm

 

Screen Captures
 

 

Kino - Region 0 - NTSC TOP vs. Eureka 'Masters of Cinema' Boxset - Region 0 - PAL BOTTOM

 

 

Eureka May 2004 - Region 2 - PAL TOP vs. Eureka 'Masters of Cinema' Boxset - Region 0 - PAL BOTTOM

 

 

Eureka May 2004 - Region 2 - PAL TOP vs. Eureka 'Masters of Cinema' Boxset - Region 0 - PAL BOTTOM

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Disc 2

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 


 

 

Das Testament des Dr. Mabuse (1933) aka The Testament of Dr. Mabuse

http://www.dvdbeaver.com/film/direct-chair/lang.htm

 

Screen Captures
 

 

1) Criterion - Region 0 - NTSC - TOP

2) G.C.T.H.V./Opening (Coffret Fritz Lang - 3-disc) - Region 2 - PAL - SECOND

3) Universum Film / UFA  - UFA Klassiker Edition - Region 2 PAL THIRD

4) Eureka 'Masters of Cinema' Boxset - Region 0 - PAL BOTTOM

 

 

Criterion - Region 0 - NTSC - TOP vs. G.C.T.H.V./Opening (Coffret Fritz Lang - 3-disc) - Region 2 - PAL - MIDDLE vs. Eureka 'Masters of Cinema' Boxset - Region 0 - PAL BOTTOM

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 


 

 

Die 1000 Augen des Dr. Mabuse (1960) aka The Thousand Eyes of Dr. Mabuse

 

http://www.dvdbeaver.com/film/direct-chair/lang.htm

 

Screen Captures
 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 


 

DVD Box Cover

CLICK to order from:

 

Distribution Eureka - Masters of Cinema spine #'s 89, 90, 91 - Region 0 - PAL


 



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