DR. MABUSE, THE GAMBLER, PART I (Fritz Lang, 1922)

Agile, intricate and visually expressive (such as with its superimpositions), the first part of Dr. Mabuse, der Spieler (Ein Bild der Zeit) exemplifies Fritz Lang’s fascination with criminal behavior and intrigue while creating a convincing portrait of post-World War I German society. The first episode, detailing the complicated scheme by which criminal mastermind Mabuse, a […]

SECRET BEYOND THE DOOR (Fritz Lang, 1947)

Despite its faux-Freudianism and the director’s own rejection of it, Secret Beyond the Door is without doubt Fritz Lang’s best film of the 1940s. Indeed, it is a fabulous, dreamy blend of the Bluebeard legend and Alfred Hitchcock’s Rebecca (1940), which it eerily evokes, and, like Rebecca, one of the most compelling tortured-romances to emerge […]

BEYOND A REASONABLE DOUBT (Fritz Lang, 1956)

Those who denigrate Fritz Lang’s last American film, Beyond a Reasonable Doubt, usually describe its story as being overly contrived and “full of holes”—two attributes that a logical person might deem mutually exclusive. Some fault its legal naïvité despite the fact that the script from which Lang worked was written by Douglas Morrow, who graduated […]

HUMAN DESIRE (Fritz Lang, 1954)

Flimsy, unconvincing, at times ludicrous version of Zola’s La bête humaine, updated to the present, divested of naturalism and moved to New Jersey. The script is a load of melodramatic clichés, with heavy-handed references to the Korean War to remind us that its author, Alfred Hayes, helped write Rossellini’s magnificent Paisà (1946) about the Second […]