DVD REVIEW: Dr. Mabuse, The Gambler

Movie •••½ Picture/Sound •••½ Extras ••
Director Fritz Lang's adaptation of Norbert Jacques's novel, which personified the decadence of post-WWI Berlin in its nefarious villain, is a triumph of Expressionistic set design, art direction, camera work, and lighting. This transfer, made from three existing 35mm prints, is remarkably seamless in its reconstruction of the film's nearly 4-hour running time, here spread over two discs. The black-and-white compositions are razor-sharp and immaculately detailed, with superb contrast. Occasional flashing is evident but surprisingly minimal. Aljoscha Zimmermann's new score, recorded in Dolby Digital stereo, combines effectively with the 84-year-old visuals. Extras are on the blah side, save the final portion of a three-part documentary, containing archival footage of Lang describing Mabuse's production and critical reactions to the film. [NR] German, Dolby Digital stereo; full frame (1.33:1); two dual-layer discs.

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