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Friday, November 1, 2013

Dr. Mabuse: The Gambler (1922)

Starring Rudolf Klein-Rogge, Aud Egede-Nissen, Gertrude Welcker, Alfred Abel, Bernhard Goetzke
Directed by Fritz Lang
(actor & director credits courtesy

A criminal mastermind amasses great wealth by manipulating the stock market and using his hypnotic abilities to dominate his victims.

Klein-Rogge gives an excellent performance in a well-regarded silent film from acclaimed director Lang, most famous for Metropolis, but who had a long career in both Germany and the United States, including helming a couple of Mabuse sequels.  Filmed in two parts, this is a lengthy work to digest, running over four and a half hours in total, and I definitely found it a bit too drawn out at times, but there's much to admire, from the opulent sets to the well-rendered characters to some excitingly staged bits of action.  Armed with a near-perpetual scowl and plethora of disguises, Klein-Rogge brings intensity to each of his personas, and creates a memorable villain that must have been highly influential.

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