'Mabuse' back like a bad dream

Criminal hypnotist returns in new film adaptation

Bertelsmann's film distribution and production group, Universum Film, has signed with Munich-based production group Rat Pack to produce a new adaptation of the pulp novel "Dr. Mabuse."

Originally published in 1921, Norbert Jacques' novel follows a master criminal who uses hypnotism and assorted disguises to carry out his plans for world domination. Dr. Mabuse was made famous through a dozen film adaptations, including three by Fritz Lang.

Universum recently picked up the remake rights to "Mabuse" from producer Artur Brauner, who made several "Mabuse" film adaptations in the 1960s.

Rat Pack will produce the new "Mabuse" film with Universum and Brauner's CCC Filmkunst. Shooting is planned for 2009-10.

Rat Pack, headed by Christian Becker, has a solid track record with adapting vintage German fiction for a new generation. The comedies "The Trixxer" (2004) and "The Vexxer" (2007), which together sold about 3 million tickets in Germany, were based on the Edgar Wallace paranormal thrillers of the 1960s and '70s.

Rat Pack is in preproduction on a modern-day update of the "Jerry Cotton" German crime films of the 1960s.