#12 Dr. Mabuse, The Gambler (1922)

Introducing the most clever, the most dangerous evil genius of the 1920s- Dr. Mabuse, The Gambler! What makes this guy so evil? Well, he has the powers of hypnosis which he uses for evil, selfish purposes. He is the master of disguise with many henchmen around to help him carry out his deeds. Whether it’s stealing money or controlling you under the deadliest circumstances, this is a villain who stops at nothing to get what he wants. The wicked darkness that fills the persona of Dr. Mabuse could not have happened without The Master of Darkness himself- German director Fritz Lang. 

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This film is split into two parts, making it a total of about four hours. I felt like the first hour was pretty good at introducing the story and character but starts off very slow. The second part is where the story starts picking up the pace and it feels like a thrill ride through the film’s final conclusion. The benefit of a long film is how it takes the time to introduce audiences to the heroes and villains of the story and you get an overview of what Dr. Mabuse uses his hypnosis on before the “call to adventure” (what shakes up the story) occurs. You also feel a sense of intimidation from the character of Dr. Mabuse. And no, not because of that falcon-shaped nose or crazy eye-brows! Because he’s so intelligent and has an intense power, it’s unpredictable what he will do next. If you had the powers of hypnosis, how would you use it?

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Dr. Mabuse, the Gambler uses a lot of center shots which are most effective for the hypnosis scenes. That way, when Dr. Mabuse is looking directly at the camera, it feels as if he’s staring deep into you. Try not to fall under his influence! This is the first of the Dr. Mabuse series but it’s the only film to have no sound while the rest that follow in the series are talkies.

Here are the two parts to the first in the film series and please comment your reactions:

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