Excitement by mail, in spite of strikes by postal workers who might fairly be characterized as “disgruntled,” I received a handsome package across my threshold today, the new Eureka! Masters of Cinema box set of Fritz Lang’s MABUSE trilogy. I had not ordered said item — this was a free gift in recognition of my having contributed a tiny piece of writing to the booklet accompanying THE THOUSAND EYES OF DR MABUSE, the widely-derided yet oddly excellent third film in the series.

My subject — Fritz Lang’s wooden monkey, Peter — is perhaps an unconventional one, but hey, to quote  Charles Nelson Reilly, “It’s that kind of show.”

You can look forward to more appearances by myself within the glossy folders of your future purchases, all part of my ongoing plan to live in a big house, wear expensive jewels, and eat regularly.

Contribute to my financial wellbeing by following the link below and making your puchase (of MABUSE or anything else) —

The Complete Fritz Lang Mabuse Box Set [DVD] [1922]

Big thankyous to MoC and the divine Craig Keller.

18 Responses to “Fame!”

  1. I read that credit on their catalogue section at their website a while back but I waited until this moment to say congratulations. And they couldn’t pick a better man to write about Lang and his Pet Monkey(and also the Mabuse films).

    It’s high time the Mabuse trilogy was released this way. Each film chronicles a moment of history(cinema and world) and evokes it formally and poetically. DR. MABUSE DER SPIELER is probably the definitive contemporary portrait of the Weimar depression years and the film was still edited as it was being rolled into the projector (according to Edgar G. Ulmer who’s no pal of Lang’s so this might be accurate). TESTAMENT OF DR. MABUSE allegorizes the real world doppelganger of Mabuse who had taken power at that time and it’s the final film of the Golden Age of German Cinema and a powerful experimental film in use of sound.

    THE THOUSAND EYES, Lang’s last film is about the post-modern world of eternal all pervading surveillance where the world has become like the rooms in that hotel, we’re all being watched everywhere and all the time. And it’s shot in a pulpy flat style akin to late American Lang.

  2. And of course THE TESTAMENT OF DR. MABUSE inspired the name of Willy Loman in Arthur Miller’s classic. Miller loved the film and years later noted that the scene where a guy asks for Inspector Lohman on te telephone probably inspired the well known American masterpiece.

  3. http://eurekavideo.co.uk/moc/
    I seriously get a kick out of being mentioned alongside Chion, Lang, and in the set itself, Lotte Eisner. Ridiculous but very nice!

    If you’re going to be still editing a film as it begins its premier, I guess it helps if the film is really long!

  4. Nice job! I also very much enjoyed the reference in September’s Cahiers du cinéma to your “Forgotten” piece on Blier’s Calmos on The Auteurs’. It’s a shame they didn’t actually name-check you but we know who wrote it!

  5. Whoah! I didn’t see that! Anybody got a copy or a link?

  6. Mrs Cairns here. … or eat a big house, live in an expensive jewel and wear regularly.

  7. jason hyde Says:

    Congratulations, and thanks for addressing the important issue of Lang’s wooden monkey. There should be a film about those two.

    Also, I had no idea that 1000 Eyes was widely-derided, which means I’ve must have been living in a Mabuse bubble of some kind. It’s a seriously excellent film, and it’s impossible for me to conceive on anyone thinking that it’s anything less than masterful.

  8. Christopher Says:

    congratulations! :o)

  9. Congratulations David, looking forward to getting this boxset, and to any future writings you contribute to the Masters of Cinema series ;)

  10. Actually David, you’re right, it is pretty ridiculous.

    Ahh, just kidding of course. Without blowing too much smoke up your ass (arse?) let me just say you’re a pretty good wordsmith, especially when you’re on a roll. The energy and enthusiasm you have for cinema is more than evident in what you bring to this blog on a daily basis. Your knowledge of the subject is very wide-ranging, sometimes surprisingly so. And of course your sense of humor makes it a lot more fun, which I’m sure you realize. You’re the perfect person to write about Fritz’s monkey, I’m just wondering if your contribution to Criterion’s STAGECOACH DVD will be as idiosyncratic (though I kind of doubt it). Congrats on this little essay of yours, I’m sure there’s more to come.

  11. Not possible, perhaps, to be quite as eccentric about Stagecoach as it is about Lang’s ape, although I wish I was. But there’s some rewriting to be done on that one, so who knows?

    There’ll be more MoC news soon, hopefully.

    Now to seduce the BFI.

    Love Dr Lizardo’s clown hair.

  12. Well, it’s nice to see someone I know in successfully print (more or less, we’ve never actually met), so congratulations. Someday, maybe they’ll tag you to host At The Movies.

    Okay, I took that from the Harold Ross style guide. Compliment someone, then insult them in the very next sentence :)

  13. Damn, I blew the joke. successfully in print is what I meant.

  14. Unfortunately, the Cahiers piece is not available online, to the best of my knowledge, but if you have access to the hard-copy September issue the reference is in the article “The Auteurs: le cinéma online” by Nicholas Elliot, on p. 45. If you can’t get your hands on it, let me know and I can ensure you get a copy.

  15. I’ll scout around. One of our libraries must have the thing.

    They should get Lon Chaney’s character from The Unknown to host At the Movies. Having two thumbs on each hand he’d be at a fantastic advantage.

  16. Congratulations, David! That box set looks covetable and as soon as I feel like indulging myself (I never have to wait too long for that to happen) I’ll order it. Has anybody around here ever seen the Chabrol Mabuse, Dr M? The idea of Alan Bates as Mabuse is kind of intriguing.

  17. I have a copy, courtesy of a kindly Shadowplayer, but haven’t perused yet. The movie has no reputation whatsoever, and seem s to be filed under Chabrol’s failed departures from his winning formula — but I quite like those.

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