Thursday, 24 May 2012

Dr Mabuse vs Scotland Yard (1963)

Dr Mabuse vs Scotland Yard (1963) Diabolical criminal mastermind Dr Mabuse first saw the light of day in Fritz Lang’s 1922 masterpiece Dr Mabuse - The Gambler. Lang made a sequel in the early 30s and a second sequel in 1960, The Thousand Eyes of Dr Mabuse. The latter was so successful in Europe that it kicked off a whole series of Dr Mabuse movies. None are as good as Lang’s film but all are fun and all are worth seeing. Dr Mabuse vs Scotland Yard (Scotland Yard jagt Dr. Mabuse) is no exception.

The evil Dr Mabuse is up to his old tricks again. Which is surprising, since he’s dead. But to a diabolical criminal mastermind as cunning as Dr Mabuse death is merely a setback. Even when dead he is a formidable adversary.

This time Dr Mabuse has got his hands on a fiendish brain-control device. Hidden inside a camera it can project a hypnotic ray that turns people into robotic slaves. Dr Mabuse intends to use the device to take over Britain.

Dr Mabuse vs Scotland Yard (1963)
This movie is supposedly based on a Bryan Edgar Wallace story so it’s part-krimi and part Dr Mabuse movie, set partly in Germany and partly in Britain. Inspektor Vulpius (Werner Peters) from Hamburg and Major Bill Tern (Peter van Eyck) from Scotland Yard are both investigating the case. Major Tern has the assistance of his mother who is a detective story fan and a bit of an amateur detective. Also on the case is Inspector Joe Wright (Klaus Kinski).

Dr Mabuse is making use of a renegade English scientist who has been given plastic surgery to disguise his identity, and his plans include kidnapping princess Diana (no, not that one, a different one).

Dr Mabuse vs Scotland Yard (1963)
It seems that Dr Mabuse may succeed this time since he is able to turn Scotland Yard’s own men against them. Even the indefatigable Inspector Joe Wright finds himself robotised. Is there no answer to this horrible weapon? Perhaps there is. Major Tern’s mother is immune. If Major Tern can just figure out why, he may have a chance. And one other man is immune also - is there a link? Can the answer be found before Dr Mabuse takes over the British government?

As usual with krimis the acting is pretty good. Peter van Eyck makes a good hero. Klaus Kinski is surprisingly heroic, at least until he gets robotised. Wolfgang Priess is an excellent super-villain. As usual the British police are armed to the teeth, although it appears that guns are of little use against such a super-weapon.

Dr Mabuse vs Scotland Yard (1963)
Paul May had already had a very long career as a director and he handles matters fairly confidently.

There’s no need for expensive special effects which is just as well since the budget didn’t extent that far anyway.

Dr Mabuse vs Scotland Yard (1963
Sinister Cinema’s DVD-R release offers only a fullframe print with an English dubbed soundtrack but picture quality is quite acceptable and it appears to be the only option for non-German speaking audiences.

Dr Mabuse is one of the screen’s greatest villains and fans of the evil doctor will want to check out this installment in his infamous criminal career. Dr Mabuse vs Scotland Yard will not disappoint them.

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