In 1960, Fritz Lang
returned to Germany to make his last film, a much-delayed sequel to Dr. Mabuse, Der Spieler
and Das Testament des Doktor Mabuse
In this film (in English, The Thousand Eyes of Dr. Mabuse
), the methods of the long-dead Diabolical Mastermind
Dr. Mabuse appear to be being put into practice again in the West Germany of the Wirtschaftswunder
. Kommisar Kras of Homicide is investigating a series of mysterious crimes against wealthy guests of the Hotel Luxor. Meanwhile, at the Luxor, an American businessman tries to save a woman in distress...
The film failed to achieve the lasting reputation of the earlier Mabuse films with critics, but was enough of a hit to initiate a new series of Mabuse films by other directors, also featuring Wolfgang Preiss as Mabuse and Gert Frobe
as his police enemy.
This film provides examples of the following tropes:
- Answer Cut: Several times.
- Blind Seer: Cornelius, supposedly.
- Bond Villain Stupidity: Dr. Mabuse III leaving Travers and Marion to die in the sealed control room.
- Bulletproof Human Shield: Rosensweig uses the engineer's body as this in his gunfight with Berg.
- Catch Phrase: Rosensweig has a long and heavy-handedly comic speech when introducing himself, as part of his Obfuscating Stupidity.
- The Chessmaster: Mabuse
- Continuity Nod:
- The opening scene in which the journalist Barter is shot in his car is an shot-for-shot copy of the murder of Dr. Kramm in Testament, using modern vehicles.
- The attempt to kill Kras with an exploding telephone is a direct reference to a similar scene in Dr. Mabuse, der Spieler.
- The climax with Travers and Marion sealed in the control room is a hybrid of Mabuse being trapped in the workshop at the end of Dr. Mabuse, der Spieler and the death trap for Kent and Lilli in Testament.
- Decoy Damsel: Marion.
- Diabolical Mastermind: Yet again.
- The Dulcinea Effect: Deliberately used in an evil plan.
- Honey Trap: The whole situation with Marion and her "husband" is a fake to make Travers fall in love with her, so that he can marry her and Mabuse can then kill him and run his company when she inherits.
- Hell Hotel: Played with: although the hoteliers are evil they aren't (usually) killing the guests there and then but spying on them so that they can plan later crimes.
- In Love with the Mark: Marion
- Infodump: First when a policeman summarises the previous two films at a meeting, and then a really blatant one near the end where Berg and the engineer discuss why the surveillance was installed at the hotel.
- Legacy Character: Dr Mabuse III, somewhere between this and Jack the Ripoff.
- Love Redeems: Marion
- Loyal Animal Companion: Used by Rosensweig to identify the finally unmade-up Mabuse III, when Cornelius's dog runs straight to him.
- Manipulative Bastard: Mabuse, as usual
- Master of Disguise: Dr. Mabuse III. Whereas in Dr. Mabuse, der Spieler the audience were meant to recognise Mabuse's different personas, in this one the fact that Cornelius and Jordan were the same person in different make-up is a surprise reveal.
- Morally Ambiguous Doctorate: Mabuse and Jordan.
- Multiple Endings: The film exists in alternate versions with different cuts of the (silent) final scene of Travers at Marion's bedside in hospital, which have different implications as to whether she survives her injuries or dies. It will surprise nobody who knows European film that the French release had the sad ending.
- Never Found the Body: Dr Mabuse III drives his car into a river in what is blatantly signalled as an example of this trope.
- No Name Given: The club-footed man, the killer in sunglasses, and the engineer.
- No One Sees the Boss: As in Testament.
- Obfuscating Disability: Cornelius.
- Obfuscating Stupidity: Rosensveig, who is actually an Interpol Special Agent.
- Phony Psychic
- Prophet Eyes: Cornelius. If you think they look like dodgy contact lenses, you're absolutely right.
- Psycho Psychologist: Jordan, if he even is a psychiatrist.
- Real Time: As with the previous Mabuse films, set in the year of release.
- Same Language Dub: Cornelius's lines were spoken by a different actor, to prevent the audience from recognising the voice and realising that he and "Dr. Jordan" were the same person.
- Sealed Room in the Middle of Nowhere: The control room in the basement of the hotel, for Marion and Travers.
- Sinister Shades: Mabuse's gunman.
- Staged Shooting: Followed by a real one, when the club-footed man is first "shot" by Travers to defend Marion, and then really shot by the man in sunglasses. Also, the faked assassination attempt on Cornelius at the seance.
- Surveillance as the Plot Demands: Justified, as the hotel was secretly built by the SS as a panopticon so they could spy on foreign businessmen and diplomats.
- Sympathetic Inspector Antagonist: Komissar Kras
- Those Two Bad Guys: The gunman in shades and his driver.
- Two Aliases, One Character: Cornelius the psychic and Dr. Jordan, who are both actually Dr. Mabuse III.
- Villain-Based Franchise: This was where it really took off.
- The Voice: Mabuse again, using the club-footed man as his reader. Almost a pre-internet example of Voice with an Internet Connection.
- You Have Outlived Your Usefulness: The death of the club-footed man. Lampshaded when Berg and the engineer worry that they might get the same treatment.