The Thousand Eyes of Dr. Mabuse [Masters of Cinema] (Blu-ray Review)

Eyes Dr Mabuse Blu-ray ReviewAfter enjoying fantastic success with Fritz Lang’s two-part “Indian Epic” in 1959, German producer Artur Brauner signed the great director to direct one more film. The result would be the picture that, in closing the saga he began nearly forty years earlier, brought Lang’s career full-circle, and would come to represent his final celluloid testament by extension: his final film masterpiece. The Thousand Eyes of Dr. Mabuse [Die 1000 Augen des Dr. Mabuse] finds that diabolical Weimar name resurfacing in the Cold War era, linked to a new methodology of murder and mayhem. Seances, assassinations, and Nazi-engineered surveillance tech all abound in Lang’s paranoid, and ultimate, filmic labyrinth. One of the great and cherished “last films” in the history of cinema, The Thousand Eyes of Dr. Mabuse provides a stylistic glimpse into the 1960s works on such subjects as sex-crime, youth-culture, and LSD that Lang would unfortunately never come to realize. Nonetheless, Lang’s final film remains an explosive, and definitive, closing statement. The Masters of Cinema Series is proud to present Fritz Lang’s final film on Blu-ray.

Eyes Dr Mabuse Blu-ray Review


The story involves the evil genius and criminal mastermind, Dr. Mabuse, as he hypnotizes people in order to commit assassinations for him – all while he tries to steal important nuclear weapons technology from an American industrialist staying at a hotel that has also been bugged by Dr. Mabuse. To say that the plot is a bit of a tongue twister would be an understatement, but the film is easy to follow.

The Thousand Eyes of Dr. Mabuse is director Fritz Lang’s final film and the final installment of his Dr. Mabuse films. I was familiar with the title and the franchise but had never seen any of the films before. I had to familiarize myself with the character and notion of Dr. Mabuse, so I watched Fritz Lang’s Dr. Mabuse the Gambler and The Testament of Dr. Mabuse. This helped a great deal even if the films are not necessarily connected in anyway outside of the Dr. Mabuse character and his motivations.

In fact, what is so cool about The Thousand Eyes of Dr. Mabuse is that it has a sheen that almost plays out like a contemporary spy film, with a European flair. Granted, the film is German, so that’s a given, but the year was 1960 and James Bond had not made his feature film debut yet. Everyone in this film has impeccable wardrobe taste. The only obvious person to stand out is Dr. Mabuse, but because he plays both sides, is given a pass to be “eccentric.”

The production design, car chases, and action are lively and enhance the film’s themes. Dr. Mabuse is an arch villain, who does what he does behind the scenes and is never portrayed as a brute. The Thousand Eyes of Dr. Mabuse was his final film, which was released in 1960. What I do find really cool about Thousand Eyes of Dr. Mabuse is how easily accessible it is to a novice of the character. Some may ask if it’s necessary to watch Dr. Mabuse the Gambler and The Testament of Dr. Mabuse and the answer is no. With that said, you would be denying yourself some fundamental film education, as those two are great films, as well, but they don’t carry over their storylines to Thousand Eyes.


Eyes Dr Mabuse Blu-ray Review


Encoding: MPEG-4 AVC

Resolution: 1080p

Aspect Ratio: 1.66:1

Clarity/Detail: For a 60-year old film, you would think that this film was shot yesterday. Contrast and sharpness levels are terrific, and edge enhancement is not a problem.

Depth: Grain levels are consistent throughout the film. I also did not notice instances of softness. For a film of this age, it’s quite remarkable at the love it has received with this restoration is definitely a high-tier affair.

Black Levels: Black levels are deep, rich, inky, and never crush.

Color Reproduction:  N/A

Flesh Tones:  N/A

Noise/Artifacts: The opening intro and credits seem to fare the “worst” because black and white classic (and some color) productions used opticals and mattes for their transitions and those have inherent bits of noise and artifacts due to age, so it cannot be undone, but does not contribute to an overall negative effect of the overall picture. Wait until you see the first moving frame.


Eyes Dr Mabuse Blu-ray Review


Audio Format(s): German LPCM 2.0 (48kHz/24-bit), English LPCM 2.0 (dubbed)

Subtitles: English

Dynamics: The German LPCM 2.0 sound on this release is exceptional. All of the onscreen and offscreen action, dialogue, ambience, etc., is housed within this 24-bit lossless soundtrack. It’s nice and balanced and never felt “cluttered.”

Low-Frequency Extension: N/A

Surround Sound Presentation: N/A

Dialogue Reproduction: The dialogue levels are excellently handled on this Blu-ray release. I was able to listen to the German audio without any problems — the subtitles were accurate, as well.

Eyes Dr Mabuse Blu-ray Review


The Thousand Eyes of Dr. Mabuse includes a feature length audio commentary by film and Lang expert and scholar David Kalat. A cool final interview with actor Wolfgang Preiss. An alternate ending is also included. The rest of the special features are made of the O-Card Slipcase (first 2000 copies), reversible sleeve artwork, and a collector’s booklet.


  • LIMITED EDITION O-CARD SLIPCASE [First Print Run of 2000 copies only]
  • 1080p presentation on Blu-ray
  • Original German soundtrack
  • Optional English audio track, approved by Fritz Lang
  • Optional English subtitles
  • Feature-length audio commentary by film-scholar and Lang expert David Kalat
  • 2002 interview with Wolfgang Preiss
  • Alternate ending
  • Reversible sleeve featuring newly commissioned and original poster artwork
  • PLUS: a collector s booklet featuring a new essay by Philip Kemp; vintage reprints of writing by Lang; an essay by David Cairns; notes by Lotte Eisner on Lang’s final, unrealized projects


Eyes Dr Mabuse Blu-ray Review


The Thousand Eyes of Dr. Mabuse is a great romp of a final film from the master, Fritz Lang. This Blu-ray release is the absolute best edition of the film that has ever been released on physical media. It features great video, audio, and decent supplemental features. The Thousand Eyes of Dr. Mabuse is highly recommended!


DISCLAIMER: This Region B Blu-ray review was judged and graded using the following HD Premium television set found HERE and Region-Free Blu-ray player HERE.  Make sure to check out all of our Blu-ray reviews archived HERE.  The images used above within the review are not actual Blu-ray screenshots. They are for illustrative purposes only.



The Thousand Eyes of Dr. Mabuse

is available on Blu-ray in the UK!






Eyes Dr Mabuse Blu-ray Review


Gerard Iribe is a writer/reviewer for Why So Blu?. He has also reviewed for other sites like DVD Talk, Project-Blu, and CHUD, but Why So Blu? is where the heart is. You can follow his incoherency on Twitter: @giribe

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