The alternate 'Testament of Doctor Mabuse' - Fritz Lang's German and French versions
October 22, 2009 1:55 AM   Subscribe

Having recently learned that Fritz Lang filmed an entirely different, French language, version of The Testament of Doctor Mabuse alongside the 'original' German version, I set out to find it. The only way to get hold of it seems to be via the Criterion DVD, but this is a Region 1 (NTSC) release only. Where else can I get a copy of the alternate Mabuse? Preferably as either a download or as a Region 2 (PAL) release

I would rather have the Criterion release, of course, because it is the definitive package of the film(s) - but my laptop has a very strict DVD drive that is impossible to hack to multi-region (Matshita UJ-841s). I have tried all sorts of software and firmware solutions. Non work.

I want to use the two films, running alongside each other, at a symposium I am presenting at. And I can't rely on my university having a region 1 setup.

Is it worth buying the Region 1 Criterion and somehow transferring it to Region 2? I heard that this can be done, with patience and the right software.

In a perfect world I want the Criterion release as a region 2 DVD.

Other solutions?
posted by 0bvious to Media & Arts (6 answers total)
Can't comment on your particular drive, but I have the idea that most drives allow you to change their region code up to 5 times. If you can't on yours, maybe buy an external DVD drive that will allow this?

Or you may be able to break out the Region 1 DVD to region free with DVD Decrypter, a free program floating around out there on the net...
posted by DarkForest at 3:54 AM on October 22, 2009

It's very easy to make a region-free copy of a DVD. You need a PC with a DVD burner set to the correct region (or region-free) and a copy of DVDShrink.

In some cases, you can use DVDdecrypter to rip a local copy of the disc without having to change the region of the drive, but this does not work with the 841s. If you want to use your own laptop for the task, you'll have to waste 2 of your region switches (one to go to region 1 before ripping and another to return to 2 when you're done). Another option is to buy an external USB DVD drive, which you could likely find used for less than 20 €.

Even FNAC in Paris doesn't seem to have the French version that you mention; all I could find on their website was the German version with French/English subtitles (although I didn't look too hard or search any other stores).
posted by helios at 3:56 AM on October 22, 2009

My cineaste friends in Europe use region free DVD players when they want to play Criterion Collection and other Region 1 only DVD's. A quick glance on Amazon says that these can be had for well under $100. If you can convince your university's tech people to connect your hardware to their AV system, that might be the easiest way to get around your problem.
posted by felix betachat at 4:33 AM on October 22, 2009

If you do end up going with the Criterion disc I seem to remember that there is a special feature that shows a few scenes from the two versions side by side, as you're planning to do.
posted by Lentrohamsanin at 6:31 AM on October 22, 2009

Can anyone recommend a good, multi-region, external DVD drive?
posted by 0bvious at 7:06 AM on October 22, 2009

nthing What felix betachat said: A friend told me that the really cheap DVD players you can get at Walmart or elsewhere - under $100 - are cheaper because they don't have the DVD DRM built in.
posted by Xoebe at 11:36 AM on October 22, 2009

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