Doctor Mabuse


Doctor Mabuse

Doctor Mabuse is a fictional character created by Norbert Jacques in the novel Dr. Mabuse, der Spieler, and made famous by the three movies director Fritz Lang made about the character; see Dr. Mabuse the Gambler. Although the character was designed deliberately to mimic pulp magazine-style villains such as Dr. Fu Manchu and Fantômas, the latter of which was a direct inspiration, Jacques' goal was both commercial success and to make political comments, in much the same way that the silent movie The Cabinet of Dr. Caligari (1920) had done just a few years previously.

Contents

Description

Dr. Mabuse is a master of disguise and telepathic hypnosis. Mabuse rarely commits his crimes in person, instead operating primarily through a network of agents implementing schemes he has planned for them. Mabuse's agents range from career criminals working for him, to innocents blackmailed or hypnotized into cooperation, to dupes manipulated so successfully they do not realize that they are doing exactly what Mabuse planned for them to do.

Mabuse's identity often changes; one "Dr. Mabuse" may be defeated and sent to an asylum, jail, or grave, only for a new "Dr. Mabuse" to later appear, as depicted in The Testament of Dr. Mabuse. The replacement invariably has the same methods, the same powers of hypnosis, and the same criminal genius. There are even suggestions in some installments of the series that the "real" Mabuse is some sort of spirit that possesses a series of hosts spiritually.

History

Dr. Mabuse first appeared in the 1921 novel Dr. Mabuse, der Spieler (translation: "Dr. Mabuse The Player" or "Dr. Mabuse The Gambler") by Norbert Jacques. The novel was the beneficiary of unprecedented publicity efforts and became a best-seller very soon. Lang, already an accomplished director, worked with his wife Thea von Harbou to translate the novel to the screen, where it also became a great success. The film Dr. Mabuse, der Spieler (1922), with a playing time of more than four hours, was released in two separate sections: Dr. Mabuse, the Gambler, an Image of the Times and Inferno, People of the Times.

After the great success of both the novel and the movie, it was almost a decade before anything more was done with the character. Jacques had been working on a sequel to the novel, named Mabuse's Colony, in which Mabuse has died and a group of his devotees are starting an island colony based on the principles described by Mabuse's manifesto. However, the novel was unfinished. After conversations with Lang and von Harbou, Jacques agreed to discontinue the novel and the sequel instead became the 1933 movie Das Testament des Dr. Mabuse, in which the Mabuse of 1920 (still played by Rudolf Klein-Rogge) is an inmate in an insane asylum, but has for some time been obsessively writing meticulous plans for crime and terrorism — plans that are being performed by a gang of criminals outside the asylum, who receive their orders from a person who has identified himself to them only as Dr. Mabuse.

Cultural influences and homages

The German musical group Propaganda released their debut single, "Dr. Mabuse", during 1984 as a tribute to the character; the song was also part of their debut album, A Secret Wish, during 1985.

The German musical band Blue System released a song named "Doctor Mabuse", as part of the album X-Ten, during 1994. The song was also released as a single.

Jean-Marc Lofficier wrote Superman's Metropolis, a trilogy of graphic novels for DC Comics illustrated by Ted McKeever, the third of which was entitled Wonder Woman: The Blue Amazon, with the plot derived partly from Dr. Mabuse, der Spieler. The character of Mabuse was combined with Wonder Woman villain Doctor Psycho.

Dr. Mabuse was mentioned as a member of Die Zwielichthelden (The Twilight Heroes) in the graphic novel The League of Extraordinary Gentlemen: Black Dossier, by Alan Moore and Kevin O'Neill. Along with Doctor Caligari and Professor Rotwang, Mabuse was a villain for the third volume, Century, published during 2009.[1]

Mabuse also appears with his fellow silent movie characters in Kim Newman's novel The Bloody Red Baron, in which he, Caligari, Rotwang, Count Orlok and others attempt to create the Red Baron.

In Charles Stross' James Bond spoof novel The Jennifer Morgue, the main villain, who has hypnotic eyes, has a yacht named Mabuse. In the afterward, Stross discusses Mabuse as the first supervillain and the direct predecessor of Ernst Stavro Blofeld.

The Brazilian musician and designer H.D. Mabuse has used this name as his pseudonym for more than 20 years.

The name "Mabuse" is a pseudonym of a fictionalized version of Fritz Lang in Fullmetal Alchemist the Movie: Conqueror of Shamballa.[2]

Dr. Mabuse inspired Wong Jing's 1989 movie God of Gamblers.

Filmography

  • Dr. Mabuse, der Spieler (1922), directed by Fritz Lang.
    • English title: Dr. Mabuse, the Gambler.
  • Das Testament des Dr. Mabuse (1933), directed by Fritz Lang.
    • English title: The Testament of Dr. Mabuse
    • A French-language version was filmed at the same time, on the same sets, but with a mainly different cast.
    • The Crimes of Dr. Mabuse is a truncated, reorganized and redubbed adaptation of The Testament of Dr. Mabuse made primarily for U. S. audiences.
  • Die Tausend Augen des Dr. Mabuse (1960), directed by Fritz Lang, produced by Artur Brauner.
    • English title: The Thousand Eyes of Dr. Mabuse.
  • Im Stahlnetz' des Dr. Mabuse (1961), directed by Harald Reinl, produced by Artur Brauner.
    • English title: The Return of Dr. Mabuse (literally; In the Steel-Web of Dr. Mabuse).
  • Die unsichtbaren Krallen des Dr. Mabuse (1962), directed by Harald Reinl, produced by Artur Brauner.
    • English title: The Invisible Dr. Mabuse (literally: The Invisible Claws of Dr. Mabuse).
  • Das Testament des Dr. Mabuse (1962), directed by Werner Klingler, produced by Artur Brauner, a remake of the 1933 movie.
    • English title: The Testament of Dr. Mabuse).
  • Scotland Yard jagt Dr. Mabuse (1963), directed by Paul May, produced by Artur Brauner.
    • English title: Dr. Mabuse vs. Scotland Yard (literally: Scotland Yard hunts Dr. Mabuse).
  • Die Todesstrahlen des Dr. Mabuse (1963), directed by Hugo Fregonese, produced by Artur Brauner.
    • English title: The Death Ray of Dr. Mabuse (literally: The Death-Rays of Dr. Mabuse).
  • La Venganza del Dr. Mabuse (1970), directed by Jess Franco.
    • English title: The Vengeance of Dr. Mabuse.
  • Docteur M (1989), directed by Claude Chabrol.
    • English title: Club Extinction.

Literature

  • Kalat, David, The strange case of Dr. Mabuse: a study of the twelve movies and five novels, Jefferson, North Carolina: McFarland, 2001.

References


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Look at other dictionaries:

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