Rat Pack revives classic villain

BERLIN — The sinister “Dr. Mabuse” will soon be returning to German screens.

Based on the novels of Luxembourgian scribe Norbert Jacques and immortalized on the silver screen by Fritz Lang in three films, including the 1922 silent classic “Dr. Mabuse the Gambler” and the 1933 sequel “The Testament of Dr. Mabuse,” the new adaptation will be produced by Rat Pack Filmproduktion, Artur Brauner’s CCC Filmkunst and Universum.

CCC holds rights to the nefarious pulp villain, a doctor of psychology, master of disguise and powerful telepathic hypnotist who loathes humanity, and whose ultimate goal is to destroy the world rather than simply ruling it.

In the vein of fellow cinematic and pulp villains such as Dr. Caligari, Fu Manchu and Fantomas, Mabuse boasts strong recognition among local and European auds.

Brauner, who bought the rights to the character in 1953 from Jacques, produced Lang’s final Mabuse film, 1960’s “The Thousand Eyes of Dr. Mabuse,” and went on to make a slew of hugely popular sequels starring Gert Froebe (“Goldfinger”), Lex Barker and Wolfgang Preiss as the evil doctor.

In 1990, Claude Chabrol revived the character in “Dr. M,” which starred Alan Bates and Jennifer Beals.

Rat Pack topper and producer Christian Becker (“The Wave”) sees the new “Dr. Mabuse” as “a big contemporary theatrical action thriller with socio-critical overtones.”

Filming is set to start late next year.

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