Dr. Mabuse (Rudolf Klein-Rogge) is a man with many different faces and identities. He has secret papers stolen and manipulates the course of the stock market. He masquerades as a reputable scientist and sets his mistress, the dancer Cara Carozza (Aud Egede-Nissen), on the young millionaire Hull (Paul Richter), hypnotizing him and taking a fortune from him at cards. Through Hull, prosecutor von Wenk (Bernhard Goetzke) gets on Mabuse’s trail. Mabuse tries to hypnotize von Wenk at the gambling table as well, but the prosecutor manages to resist the enigmatic doctor’s magical powers. Soon afterwards, he narrowly escapes an assassination attempt by Mabuse. A large-scale police operation against Mabuse fails to capture him. The public authorities seem to be powerless against the criminal mastermind who, hiding behind the mask of a dignified citizen, places himself above law and order.
Based on the bestseller of the same name by Norbert Jacques (1880-1954), Fritz Lang’s two-part movie paints a social panorama of the early 20st century, covering a wide range of themes that defined the zeitgeist of the time, such as acceleration, financial crises, parapsychology, white-collar crime, and the quest for world domination and other conspiracy theories. A film with unmistakable references to the present-day of the 21st century. UFA Film Nights presents Part I of Fritz Lang’s two-part mammoth work.