1,000 Eyes of Dr. Mabuse, The (1960)

1,000 Eyes of Dr. Mabuse, The (1960)

“In reality, my marriage is sheer hell.”

A suicidal woman (Dawn Addams) whose abusive husband (Reinhard Kolldehoff) refuses to divorce her is rescued from a hotel ledge by a wealthy American (Peter Van Eyck) who sends for her psychiatrist (Wolfgang Preiss), then promptly falls in love with her. Meanwhile, a detective (Gert Fröbe) investigates who may be behind recent murders conducted by the unseen Dr. Mabuse; a pushy insurance agent (Werner Peters) lurks around the corners of the Nazi-built hotel; and a blind psychic (Lupo Prezzo) makes ominous predictions.

Genres, Themes, Actors, and Directors:

  • Criminal Investigation
  • Detectives and Private Eyes
  • Fritz Lang Films
  • German Films
  • Marital Problems
  • Mind Control and Hypnosis
  • World Domination

Fritz Lang’s fourth film about criminal mastermind “Dr. Mabuse” — after his two-part silent epic Dr. Mabuse, The Gambler (1922) and its sound-era sequel, The Testament of Dr. Mabuse (1933) — also turned out to be his final movie. It’s a less visually impressive, but narratively complex continuation of the machinations of “Mr. Mabuse”, updated to incorporate pervasively modern (for the time) video surveillance technology. As DVD Savant describes in his review:

1,000 Eyes breaks a complicated mystery down into dozens of short, interlocking scenes. Each scene introduces only a single puzzle piece for the mystery. It’s as if each little scene has the verb for the scene that precedes it, and the noun for the scene that follows. We the viewers must digest the flood of un-collated information as fast as we can.

Indeed, viewers who stick with this storyline are guaranteed a wild ride, as a long con is eventually revealed and leads to yet more character revelations and plot twists. Fröbe makes an effectively bemused yet committed detective:

… while Peters delivers a surprisingly amusing and complex supporting character:

… and Prezzo is appropriately creepy as a psychic with indeterminate motives.

Redeeming Qualities and Moments:

  • Atmospheric sets and cinematography

  • A cleverly intricate tale of surveillance and terror

Must See?
No, but it’s recommended, and of course a must for Lang fans.


One thought on “1,000 Eyes of Dr. Mabuse, The (1960)

  1. First viewing. Not must-see.

    It’s not a terrible film; it’s well-made, reasonably engaging and there’s a flair in the finale. Alas, ultimately it’s just not all that compelling.

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