When You Get Really Close to a Movie Screen, Film Emulsion Looks like…
Boiling Sand
Dick Cheney thru the Eyes of Fritz Lang

ELECTION NIGHT — Around the time the polls started closing, I decided to watch the stunning, powerful Criterion Collection DVD of Fritz Lang’s THE TESTAMENT OF DR. MABUSE.

Good choice.

Mabuse was a criminal genius (Lang had made a film about Mabuse in the 1920s and his last film in the 1960s was also about Mabuse).  In this movie, Mabuse has been declared insane and is kept in a private room deep in an insane asylum.  However, despite his isolated location and catatonic state, Mabuse has developed paranormal powers with which he can direct the actions of the asylum’s director and an entire army of high-powered criminals on the outside, creating havoc by destabilizing transportation, currency, natural energy sources, banking and other institutions.

Dr. Mabuse directing an empire from his catatonic state in an asylum.

Dr. Mabuse directing an empire from his catatonic state in an asylum.

Reminds me of the last 8 years in the U.S.

The creepiest part of the film is when the spirit of Mabuse materializes in the Director’s office and delivers the following words –

“Humanity’s soul must be shaken to its very depths, frightened by unfathomable and seemingly senseless crimes. Crimes that benefit no one, whose only objective is to inspire fear and terror. Because the ultimate purpose of crime is to establish the endless empire of crime. A state of complete insecurity and anarchy, founded upon the tainted ideals of a world doomed to annihilation.

“When humanity, subjugated by the terror of crime, has been driven insane by fear and horror, and when chaos has become supreme law, then the time will have come for the empire of crime.”

Words to think about as we start to historicize this decade.  Oh, yeah, and it’s also interesting how in the movie they refer to the financial chaos of post-WWI Germany as “The Economic Crisis.”

Current events aside, I had never seen the movie before, and it is now maybe my favorite Fritz Lang film.  It had apocalyptic images, psychological thrills, and a genuine creepiness.  RECOMMENDED!

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