Too Good to be True and it is!
Michael L. Shields | HAYWARD, CA USA | 05/23/2007
(2 out of 5 stars)
"I always liked the Dr. Mabuse thrillers. I would watch them on late night TV in the seventies. A few years back, a small independent DVD distributor, ALL DAY ENTERTAINMENT released Mabuse Double pack as well as the original Dr. Mabuse thriller from the 1930s. The prints were clean, letterboxed, uncut and if memory serves me well, I had the option of competent English dubbing or subtitles. If I recall ALL DAY had small niche in the market of cult film distribution, and was living high off cult film fans and their money. I read awhile back IMAGE bought out ALL DAY, and started reissuing some of the popular titles ALL DAY had released. Why do I bring this up? I thought it would be great to buy another round of Mabuse thrillers such as this package. I double checked the information, and read IMAGE had released this trio of Mabuse Films. I was expecting great print quality, subs or dubs, uncut and widescreen, and for such a low price. Sadly, this is not the case. This package of Mabuse offerings is released from the good old boys at Retro Media DVD. The prints are average at best, typical late night dubbing, edited for TV prints and not a widescreen in the bunch. Cripes, Sinister Cinema releases of the Mabuse films are much better."
Not what we'd like -- and yet the movies shine through...
T. Verratti | Laurel MD USA | 04/18/2008
(4 out of 5 stars)
"I hope I'm as much a Dr. Mabuse fan as any American can be -- or maybe I should say "mind-controlled slave of Dr. Mabuse." I relish the wonderful All-Day versions of 1,000 Eyes (The 1,000 Eyes of Dr. Mabuse) and the Testament remake (Testament Of Dr. Mabuse/ The Crimes Of Dr. Mabuse), the definitive Criterion Testament (The Testament Of Dr. Mabuse - Criterion Collection), and any one of the many dips from Image of the original (Dr. Mabuse - The Gambler). I've also devoured Kalat's scholarly book on the series (Strange Case of Dr. Mabuse: A Study of the Twelve Films and Five Novels). So like some of the disappointed reviewers above, I was initially elated to see three more Mabuse films appear from Image -- and then really let down when I realized this collection was of the truncated, pan/scan, English-dubbed T.V. versions.
But here's my four-star twist: Once I purchased this can't-argue-with-the-price collection and actually sat down to watch -- and once my inner critic stopped grumbling over the off-putting voice coming out of Gert Frobe -- I found myself really enjoying these films, especially Return of Dr. Mabuse. Yes, the three Fritz Lang films show Lang at his pulpy best, and yes, the other editions are far more satisfying from a DVD collector standpoint. And, just as Kalat notes in his writing and his many Mabuse commentaries, the series indeed becomes a stream of quickie, low-budget, no-star knock-offs. But this disc reminds me that I love those kinds of films as well -- I've got plenty of Hollywood noir and cheapo sci-fi silliness with less production value. And there's never been a villian as compelling as Mabuse to carry fear and loathing through so many years and incarnations. Even with the cheap sets and cheap Lang-imitation direction, I still found myself drawn into these stories. So my four stars are in consideration of that -- for a Mabuse fan on the Region 1 side of the universe, this is still a treat, and likely the best we'll see for a long time.
If I could have Mabuse-style power over the DVD execs, I'd actually push them for a "Collection Volume 2" that included "Dr. Mabuse vs. Scotland Yard" and the Jess Franco "Vengeance of Dr. Mabuse" before I'd force them to redo this one -- yes, I'd take even bad U.S. prints of those. That's my feeling, anyway. (Or what the man with the microphone is TELLING me to feel. It's hard to be sure.)"
Joe Smart | Chicago, IL United States | 08/27/2007
(2 out of 5 stars)
"I love the Dr Mabuse films from the 1960's and was thrilled when I saw that this was being released, at least until I opened the set and popped the disc in my player. The movies are all full-frame English dubbed TV prints and the quality is about what you would expect from cheapie Alpha Video releases of public domain movies. I can't believe Image would release such an inferior set and I will be very, very careful in the future and check reviews before ordering anything else that they release."
A Nice Set
Jeremy D. Weinstein | Walnut Creek, CA USA | 03/08/2009
(4 out of 5 stars)
"David Kalat's great commentary on Thousand Eyes of Dr. Mabuse explains the great lengths he went through to get the prints he used for that DVD. Here are three more in the series. This material is relatively rare, and even though these movies are presented full screen rather than a more preferred letterboxed, the prints are crisp and the audio is very good, with cool 1960s music and good Oskar Sala electronic compositions."