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The Cabinet of Dr. Caligari (Special Collector's Edition)

44 customer reviews

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Product Details

  • Actors: Werner Krauss, Conrad Veidt, Friedrich Feher, Lil Dagover, Hans Heinrich von Twardowski
  • Directors: Robert Wiene
  • Writers: Carl Mayer, Hans Janowitz
  • Producers: Erich Pommer, Rudolf Meinert
  • Format: Black & White, Color, DVD-Video, Silent, NTSC
  • Dubbed: Japanese
  • Region: All RegionsAll Regions
  • Aspect Ratio: 1.33:1
  • Number of discs: 1
  • MPAA Rating: UNRATED
  • Studio: eOne Films
  • Release Date: Oct. 1 2002
  • Run Time: 67 minutes
  • Average Customer Review: 4.2 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (44 customer reviews)
  • ASIN: 6305075492
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: #62,097 in DVD (See Top 100 in DVD)
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Product Description

Product Description

This milestone film, known for its expressionistic sets and techniques, tells the strange tale of a sleepwalker under the spell of the mysterious and evil Dr. Caligari.

A milestone of the silent film era and one of the first "art films" to gain international acclaim, this eerie German classic from 1919 remains the most prominent example of German expressionism in the emerging art of the cinema. Stylistically, the look of the film's painted sets--distorted perspectives, sharp angles, twisted architecture--was designed to reflect (or express) the splintered psychology of its title character, a sinister figure who uses a lanky somnambulist (Conrad Veidt) as a circus attraction. But when Caligari and his sleepwalker are suspected of murder, their novelty act is surrounded by more supernatural implications. With its mad-doctor scenario, striking visuals, and a haunting, zombie-like character at its center, Caligari was one of the first horror films to reach an international audience, sending shock waves through artistic circles and serving as a strong influence on the classic horror films of the 1920s, '30s, and beyond. It's a museum piece today, of interest more for its historical importance, but Caligari still casts a considerable spell. --Jeff Shannon

Customer Reviews

4.2 out of 5 stars
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Most helpful customer reviews

4 of 4 people found the following review helpful By Geoffrey Kragen on Feb. 20 2003
Format: DVD
There have been a number of versions of this film. My original copy was an 8mm one. The is clearly the best. It is not significantly different from other recent releases except it is cleaner, the tints are more interesting and what is especially good is the recreation of the original style of the text for the english titles. The choice of two music tracks is fun and after listening to the contemporary one, I switched to the more traditional version. The condensed version of the film Genuine was also of interest.
For those who, like myself, love this classic example of early German silent film I cannot recommend this new release highly enough.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful By E. Dolnack on Feb. 22 2002
Format: DVD
This DVD is a good quality transfer. The picture is good considering it is from 1920. It is in full-screen, with color-tinting (blue for night scenes, yellow for interior scenes, etc.)
The soundtrack on this version (Image) is great! It is an eerily, serialism-esque score written just for this film. Some silent films have been given a "modern treatment" with contemporary scores, but this DVD is judiciouly been given an appropriately "period-feel" in relation to the time and place that this movie was made. The score fits the film extremely well and is a well crafted work.
The DVD also comes with a commentary soundtrack that teaches the viewer about the film and the time in which it was shot in Germany. There is plenty of explanation about Expressionism as an art form in film, literature, and art of that time. A must for any film student!
I highly reccomend this DVD. It was well worth the price! It's literally amazing that an eighty year old film can still entertain and surprise a completely foreign audience, but some things about human beings are just universal and this film encompasses much that is universal in mankind.
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Format: DVD
"The Cabinet of Dr. Caligari" (1919), directed by Robert Wiene, is one of the best examples of German Expressionism. This film has the distinctive mise-en-sc'ne of that movement, with a scenography characterized by geometrical lines and sharp angles that along with a good use of light and darkness give the spectator the feeling of being immersed in a nightmare. Even though this is a silent movie, the viewer is never bored, but rather feels like part of what is happening, due to the fact that the story isn't slow, and also because the music helps to build the tension in the different scenes.

The story is told from the point of view of a young man who saw his life almost destroyed by the main character, Dr. Caligari (Werner Krauss). Caligari visited his town and brought death with him, in the form of a somnambulist who predicted the future , Cesare (Conrad Veidt). Dr. Caligari was intent on studying the effects of somnambulism, because he wanted to know how far a sleepwalker would go if persuaded to do some things that would be contrary to his nature while awake, for example murdering someone. Of course, the whole thing was nothing else than a experiment for Caligari, a mad doctor that would have done anything in his pursuit of knowledge.

All in all, I think that this is a fairly entertaining film. It is short, but has an interesting plot and a twist at the end that you will never guess. "The Cabinet of Dr. Caligari" isn't likely to be similar to other films you have previously seen, and even if you are familiar with German Expressionism, I sincerely believe you will enjoy it.

Belen Alcat
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By [inactive user] on April 22 2004
Format: DVD
The Cabinet of Dr. Caligari is very original. Then again, it was in 1919; it has to be original. From what I read in reviews of other versions, this one is slightly different. Whatever the difference is, I don't care because this one is possibly the greatest film ever made. It is also, in my opinion, the first ever zombie movie. Even though Cesare is technically a somnambulist, he is still under control of Dr. Caligari and is made to murder...sounds like a zombie to me. Basic, non-spoiling plot: Two men are in love with one girl. One man is murdered as predicted by a somnambulist at a side show at the Fair with Dr. Caligari. It turns out that it was Cesare (the somnambulist), after he kidnapped the woman that the two men were in love with. Cesare has a heart attack (looks like it any way), falls to the bottom of the hill he has climbed carrying the woman, and dies. Sounds like a simple, boring story, right? WRONG. The last 10 to 15 minutes of the film really catches you. It turns out it is not just a dramatizing film of murder, yet a complete twist of insanity. Good luck finding this original 1919 silent movie at a store for rental. By this baby through Amazon. It's very cheap, and suprisingly enough---it actually has special features(not many, but they're there)! This movie is highly original, extremely creative, mind-bending, and over-the-top weird with sets of swirly walls and odd doors. Not to mention the make-up. Beautiful movie. Buy it. Enough said.
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By H. Lim on Feb. 18 2004
Format: DVD
I don't know why this film is criticised for its storyline. Maybe it is because of the persistent (but only possibly true) rumours that the "twist" at the end is the result of political pressures; or that it is a cop-out.
I think "The Cabine t of Doctor Caligari" has been underrated. The plot of the film is no less amazing than the distorted sets for which it is famous. No matter where the final twist came from, it somehow fits perfectly into the fabric of the film, making it a journey into the ultimate "cabine t", the mind of a madman.
This disc (which is the same as the Force Videos/Eureka disc available in Australia" is definitely worth the money. Reviewers who criticise this disc are often ignorant of the condition of the negative for this film. Yes, there is "supposed" to be a black line across the top of the screen; it was on the original negative (thank the original German company which screwed up when trying to find out where the top of the frame should end). Yes, there was tinting on the original film (most silent films had tinting; this restoration of the print is based on a tinted negative).
There is, in fact, much to recommend about this restoration. The image, for a film that is eighty-five years old, is magnificent. The frame rate (a perilously low 16 frames per second) has been maintained; which, given my recent irritation with Abel Gance's "Napoleon", is a real bonus.
The soundtrack, by a certain Mr Brock, is about the best soundtrack for a silent film that I have heard. The string music in the expressionist-serialist style of Schoeberg and other composers of the period, drips with suitably expressionistic atmosphere.
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