20 Behind-the-Scenes Secrets from The Dark Knight

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The Joker was Inspired by Dr. Mabuse

The Testament of Dr. Mabuse


Although there are plenty of comic books to turn to when looking for inspiration for the Joker, the Nolan brothers went to a slightly less obvious place to say something new about the character. That inspiration came from a 1933 German film called The Testament of Dr. Mabuse. The film tells the story of Dr. Mabuse, an insane criminal who escapes the asylum he was being held in and leaves chaos in his wake.

Their goal was to create a version of the Joker that was more true to the character’s roots. He wasn’t here to pander to children, he was here to frighten them.

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