Absurd comedy and creepy surveillance: this week’s movies

BEYOND THE FRINGE (1969) was the filmed final stage show of the once-famous improv troupe, which included Dudley Moore and Peter Cook. In this show they discuss the United States (“It’s a young country, isn’t it — a lot like Ghana.”) and each other (“We may be lower class, but Jonathan’s a Jew and that’s worse!”), explain both nuclear deterrence and WW II (“The only thing that can raise the tone of this war is a futile gesture.”) and in one of their classic skits a one-legged man auditions for Tarzan (“If no two-legged men audition in the next 18 months, you have a very good shot.”). Some of the humor doesn’t click with me, but a lot of it does. “No other country can boast of having the world’s second-largest radio telescope. Before long, we may have the third or even fourth largest, and without adding any equipment whatsoever!”


Fritz Lang had no interest in remaking Dr. Mabuse but by the late 1950s his career was fading, so when a German studio proposed the idea, he was interested. But as it turned out, THE 1,000 EYES OF DR. MABUSE (1960) was not a remake but a second sequel, following Testament of Dr. Mabuse. It’s a very different movie from the first two, with the new Mabuse barely appearing in that identity — in fact there’s almost no criminal presence other than his coldblooded agent, Number Twelve. Instead the focus is on the cop (Gert Frobe) investigating a mysterious shooting and Peter van Eyck as a millionaire falling for a woman who’s life he’s saved. Throw in a mysterious clairvoyance, voyeurism, surveillance and you get a hell of a movie, even dubbed.“The life you have saved is threatening you — it means death for you!”

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2 responses to “Absurd comedy and creepy surveillance: this week’s movies

  1. Pingback: A bad baronet, a bad novel, Dr. Mabuse and Black Lightning: the rest of my week’s media | Fraser Sherman's Blog

  2. Pingback: Dr. Mabuse vs. the Black Panthers, Abba vs the Librarians: Movies and TV | Fraser Sherman's Blog

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