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Die Todesstrahlen des Dr. Mabuse

The Death Ray Mirror of Dr. Mabuse
Les Rayons de la Mort du Dr.Mabuse / I Raggi Mortali del Dr.Mabuse / The Death Ray of Dr.Mabuse / The Devilish Dr.Mabuse / The Secret of Dr.Mabuse / Mission Spéciale au 2ème Bureau

West Germany/France/Italy 1964
produced by
Artur Brauner, Eberhard Meichsner (executive) for CCC-Filmkunst, Critérion Film, Anglo Italia Film, Franco-London-Film, Serena Film
directed by Hugo Fregonese
starring Peter van Eyck, O.E.Hasse, Yvonne Furneaux, Rika Dialina, Walter Rilla, Ernst Schröder, Robert Beatty, Valéry Inkijinoff, Dieter Eppler, Claudio Gora, Gustavo Rojo, Massimo Pietrobon, Charles Fawcett, Leo Genn, Yoko Tani
screenplay by Ladislas Fodor, dialogue by Alexander Welbat, music by Carlos Diernhammer, Oskar Sala, underwater scenes by Victor De Santis

Dr. Mabuse, CCC-Filmkunst's Dr. Mabuse

review by
Mike Haberfelner

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Professor Larsen (O.E.Hasse) has just developed a death ray in his secret laboratory in Malta, and to keep it from falling into the wrong hands, the British Secret Service sends their top agent Bob Anders (Peter Van Eyck) along with the seemingly airheaded blonde Judy (Rika Dialina) - whom Anders soon enough loses for no apparent reason but to her greatest joy (!?!) to a brothel - to Malta to guard the Professor and his invention.

Initially, the Professor, who hasn't sold the death ray to any one gouvernment or organisation yet, turns down Anders' offer to guard him, but eventually, after Doctor Mabuse tries to get his hands on the death ray - these powerful inventions seem to draw supervillains like honey draws the bees - Larsen asks Anders to keep a close watch over his laboratory ... even if Anders seems to be more interested in Larsen's niece Gilda (Yvonne Furneaux).

One question remains, who could Mabuse be:

Larsen's assistant Krishna (Valéry Inkijinoff) ? Nope, he turns out to be a Secret Service agent.

The head of the Malta division of the Secret Service Quency (Leo Genn) ? Nope, he turns out to be a Secret Service agent (duh).

Judy ? Nope, guess what, she turns out to be a Secret Service agent as well.

The brothers Montas (Gustavo Rojo, Massimo Pietrobon), who have housed Larsen's lab ? Nope, even if they are no Secret Service agents.

Ultimately, Doctor Mabuse turns out to be Director Botani (Claudio Gora), head of the local museum, and ultimately he and his frogmen (men in diving suits, not real frog men, just to set the record straight) attack Larsen's laboratory and almost blow up the world ... wouldn't it be for Anders, who has removed a vital part of the death ray mirror and thus rendered it useless.

It all ends in the usual shoot-out and car chase, and in the end, Director Botani completely loses his mind and it becomes apparent that the real Doctor Mabuse, who was never even in this film, has only taken over his mind ...

 

The last film of the Doctor Mabuse series produced by Artur Brauners CCC-Filmkunst in the 1960's (Brauner tried his hands on Mabuse once more in 1972 with Jess Franco's failed Dr.M schlägt zu/La Venganza del Doctor Mabuse) clearly shows the influence the James Bond series was beginning to have on films like that in the mid-1960's: The hero is a spy posing as a playboy who tries (and succeeds) to get into the panties of pretty much all the female cast members, the locations are exotic, and th plot as such has pretty much become a framing device for a few so-so action scenes ... and in a way. this all is charming, even though much of the dusty Krimi-charm of earlier Mabuse-films is gone.

In all, Die Todesstrahlen des Dr.Mabuse is certainly not a good movie, but it has this certain retro-charm of mid-60's espionage thrillers that makes it worth your while nevertheless.

 

review © by Mike Haberfelner

 

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