|2.5||"The Indian Epic"||1959|
|4.0||The Thousand Eyes Of Dr. Mabuse||1960|
Early in his career, Lang tried to make Thea von Harbou’s novel The Indian Tomb into a movie, only to see the project taken from him and given to another director. In the late 1950s, while on the outs in Hollywood, Lang was offered a second chance at The Indian Tomb by a German producer who owned the rights, so he returned to the director’s chair in his old stomping grounds, and made another two-part, nearly four-hour movie. The two films that came out in 1959—titled The Tiger Of Eschnapur and The Indian Tomb, and sometimes lumped together as “The Indian Epic”—are a strange crossbreed of cheapie Steve Reeves Hercules movies and David Lean, with some near-nude dancing by Debra Paget sprinkled in for spice. There’s a logyness about “The Indian Epic” that’s distressing to anyone who fondly remembers Fury, but some of the old Lang themes are there, as the films deal with forbidden love and character-testing jealousy.
After crossing one long-overdue project off his list, Lang ended his directorial career by taking another pass at Mabuse. Like George Romero re-imagining Night Of The Living Dead for different eras, Lang’s The Thousand Eyes Of Dr. Mabuse revives the idea of a master persuader for the Cold War surveillance age, with the bulk of its action taking place in a hotel that’s been furnished with one-way mirrors, cameras, and microphones. As a murder investigation reveals that some new criminal kingpin may be operating under the name “Dr. Mabuse,” the authorities are drawn to this voyeur’s paradise, where they can watch undressing women and quarreling lovers. Though less epic than the earlier Mabuse films, Thousand Eyes has its share of classic suspense sequences. More importantly, it’s a fitting and chilling farewell for Lang, suggesting the persistence of some kinds of evil from age to age, fostered by societies that on some level must need them to exist.