Tag Archives: bernhard goetzke

Dr Mabuse, der Spieler (1922)

Dr Mabuse, der Spieler (Doctor Mabuse the Gambler) is one of the oldest films I have seen, due to some unfortunate gaps in my education. I’m not completely unfamiliar with dramatic silent films, but I know fewer of them than someone who proclaims to love movies should. So I approached this film with a little trepidation, not knowing quite what I should expect and whether I would like it.

As if to silence timid doubters like myself, the movie starts off with a rapidly-paced heist scene that turns out to be an elaborate bit of stock market manipulation on the part of the villain (Rudolf Klein-Rogge). The sequence is tremendously exciting and doesn’t feel old-fashioned at all, lack of spoken dialogue notwithstanding. If anything, editing and special effects, limited though they are, impress as thoroughly modern and sophisticated.

The film can’t quite sustain that pace, but it doesn’t need to; the viewer gets hooked with the intro and is then along for the ride, which is doled out in discrete, 20 to 30 minute segments.
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