Inspector Lohmann (Gert Frobe) is minutes away from his fishing vacation when a call comes in about the body of an Interpol courier. His body was found in a railway tunnel, the classified information about a Chicago Syndicate joining forces with a European criminal organization is missing. Lohmann heads to the prison to interview a prisoner that belonged to the syndicate. Warden Wolf (Curt Ackermann) has Alberto Sandro (Ady Berber) brought up for questioning but Lohmann learns nothing. Lohmann finds out from Washington D.C. that Mrs. Pizarro (Laura Solari) from the Chicago syndicate is here to collaborate with the European syndicate but she is killed before he can pick her up.
Reporter Maria Sabrehm (Daliah Lavi) begins pestering Lohmann. Special Agent Joe Como (Lex Barker) is in Germany as a liaison between the FBI and German authorities. The only thing Mrs. Pizarro had on her before she died was a book called “The Devil’s Anatomy”. It was written by a Reverend Briefenstein who happens to work out of the St. Thomas Church. The book has a chapter called the Dr. Mabuse Myth. Lohmann decides to have a chat with the Reverend (Rudolph Fernau). The Reverend believes that evil can manifest its spirit in animal or human form whether it is the form of a werewolf, a vampire or someone like Dr. Mabuse. Mabuse doesn’t die because the evil doesn’t die.
Como and Maria follow Lohmann to the church. An explosion meant for Lohmann brings Como and Maria into the church. Como reveals himself to Lohmann. Mabuse’s voice comes over the church’s intercom as a warning for Lohmann to lay off. Lohmann races to find the Reverend. Como begins talking to the voice. He says is really Nick Scappio, the other Chicago Syndicate contact. He tells the voice that Chicago is ready to accept his terms but they want proof of his power first.
So begins a game of cat and mouse with Lohmann as the mouse. Anyone with information ends up dead. Lohmann does piece together that the prison has something to do with whatever is going on. Little by little he finds that Mabuse can maintain an army of loyal henchmen with the use of special drugs developed by a scientist that has ties to both the Reverend and Maria. Como, alias Nick Scappio plays a part in Lohmann’s plan to flush out Mabuse and put an end to his diabolical plans.
“The Return of Dr. Mabuse” AKA” Im Stahlnetz des Dr. Mabuse” was released in 1961 and was directed by Harald Reinl. It is a West German crime thriller and a krimi. It is also a sequel to the 1960 krimi film “The Thousand Eyes of Dr. Mabuse” that was directed by Fritz Lang.
The Dr. Mabuse character was created by Norbert Jacques in his 1921 book “Dr. Mabuse Der Spieler” AKA “Dr. Mabuse the Gambler”. The book was made into a four hour, two part, silent movie directed by Fritz Lang in 1922. Lang then went on to make two more movies about the famous criminal, “The Testament of Dr. Mabuse” 1933 and “The Thousand Eyes of Dr. Mabuse” 1960, the latter of which was a krimi. There have been several other Mabuse films, a few of which were krimis.
Although “The Return of Dr. Mabuse” is a decent krimi and an interesting story it doesn’t have the same fascination as Lang’s presentations of the evil Doctor. There is, however, and interesting, although quick, death scene using a flamethrower. There are some twists and turns and a couple red herrings here and there which is typical of the krimi subgenre. It is interesting that Mabuse, who is supposed to be a genius and, at least originally, can use mind control and body transference to outwit the legal authorities but Lohmann is relegated to just common sense and good old fashioned detective work to bring him down.