One of the legendary epics of silent cinema and the beginning of a series of films that Fritz Lang developed up until the very end of his career, Dr. Mabuse, The Gambler (1922) is an epic masterpiece of conspiracy that constructs its own dark labyrinth from the base materials of human fear and paranoia. So epic in fact, that German film studio Ufa had to release it in two parts!
Part 1 introduces arch fiend Dr. Mabuse (Rudolf Klein-Rogge), a gambler, hypnotist, master of disguise and all-around criminal mastermind who develops the economic upheaval and social bacchanalia at the heart of Weimar-era Berlin. During this time Mabuse also turns his attention to a new target Edgar Hull (Paul Richter), the son of a millionaire industrialist who Mabuse hopes to manipulate for his own ideas of chaos. On the heels of Mabuse is State prosecutor Norbert von Wenk (Bernhard Goetzke) who dedicates all of his time and effort to tracking down the elusive doctor.
This epic two-part tale was originally released as two separate films, respectively subtitled The Great Gambler and Inferno, and that format is reproduced over the course of these two screenings with live piano accompaniment by John Sweeney.
This screening is part of Bristol Ideas’ 2022 series Modernism1922 which explores the worlds of film, literature, music, politics and more 100 years ago. It is run as a tribute to Kevin Jackson. His book, Constellation of Genius: 1922: Modernism and All That Jazz, tells the story of that remarkable year.