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The Masterworks of the German Horror Cinema (Nosferatu / The Cabinet of Dr. Caligari / The Golem)

Paul Wegener , Albert Steinrück , Paul Wegener , Carl Boese    Unrated   DVD
3.0 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (5 customer reviews)
Price: CDN$ 63.70
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Three seminal works in one package make this an ideal choice for film buffs and horror fans. The Masterworks of the German Horror Cinema contains three influential masterpieces from the early 1920s: The Golem, The Cabinet of Dr. Caligari, and Nosferatu. All three films are excellent, and their influence on later works, most notably Frankenstein, is clear. Nosferatu, directly plagiarized from Bram Stoker's Dracula, is by far the scariest of the three. Max Schreck's bizarre, creepy performance as the vampire is still surprisingly effective. The Golem is a retelling of the Jewish legend of a rabbi who dabbles in the black arts to protect the inhabitants of the ghetto. He makes a man of clay and brings him to life, with dire results. Though all three have gorgeous images, The Cabinet of Dr. Caligari, the tale of a mysterious mesmerist, is the most interesting as a prime example of German expressionism. The swooping, distorted sets are brilliantly nightmarish. The three silent films are best enjoyed with the volume turned all the way down. While The Golem is presented in silence, by far the most satisfying option, the music soundtrack tacked onto Caligari is unnecessary at best, and the score Nosferatu has been saddled with is absolutely dunderheaded. Bonus material includes stills and poster art from all three films and a clip from the lost film Genuine: A Tale of a Vampire. --Ali Davis

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Most helpful customer reviews
5.0 out of 5 stars Nosferatu rules! May 29 2001
By A Customer
I didn't have time to watch Caligari and the Golem, because I wanted to watch "Nosferatu!" The film is excellent, and the flaw at the end scene is hillarious! I won't tell you because it gives away the vampire's death sequence. Well, the honor of acting in this film has to go to Max Shrek, who probably was a vampire. At least I think so. Anyway, the makeup is simply the most powerful ever created for the cinema, next to Frankenstein's monster.
The plot is simple: Just the same as all the books. But with the absence of Van Helsing, the story falls a little flat.
To heck with that. Ignore the others on this great 2 disc set and only watch Nosferatu! That and, did you know that this film got involved in a lawsuit, and that all copies of the film were ordered destroyed?
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4.0 out of 5 stars B/W TRIPLE THREAT May 10 2001
AFTER SEEING (AND ENJOYING) SHADOW OF THE VAMPIRE, I THOUGHT ABOUT GETTING A COPY OF NOSFERATU (1922) (64 MIN) ON DVD. WHILE CHECKING OUT SEVERAL DIFFERENT VERSIONS TO SEE WHICH OFFERED MORE OPTIONS, I RAN ACROSS THIS EDITION THAT ALSO INCLUDES DER GOLEM (1920) (68 MIN) AND THE CABINET OF DR. CALIGARI (1921) (51 MIN). I'VE READ ABOUT AND SEEN PICTURES FROM ALL 3 OF THESE FILMS BUT HAD NEVER ACTUALLY VIEWED THEM. WHAT A TREAT IT WAS TO SEE THEM CONTAINED IN ONE PACKAGE ON 2 DVDs. NEEDLESS TO SAY, I BOUGHT IT AND ENJOYED THEM OVER THE NEXT 3 EVENINGS. THE APPROXIMATE TIMES I HAVE LISTED ABOVE FOR EACH OF THE FILMS ARE CLOSER TO CORRECT THEN THE ONES LISTED IN THE EDITION DETAILS... A VERY MINOR ERROR THAT SHOULD NOT DETER YOU FROM PICKING UP THIS CLASSIC BLACK AND WHITE TRIPLE THREAT FROM AN ERA GONE BY.
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3.0 out of 5 stars How bad do you want Der Golem? Feb. 17 2001
By JoeJJC
I won't rehash what most people already know; two of these films are considered classics while the other is a well-respected but lesser known silent work. This three-pack was a big disappointment overall from a technical standpoint. The Cabinet of Dr. Caligari is basically unwatchable because the high contrast obliterates the details and bad framing destroys the picture composition. Also, the title cards have been replaced, and this version doesn't have any of the tinting.
Nosferatu fares a little better. The contrast is high but not unwatchable. More annoying here is transfer speed of 24 frames per minute, which makes the characters appear to be moving at super-human speed; this works okay for comedy but terrible for horror.
There are several versions of both the above films out on DVD and VHS; I hear good things about the Image Editions but haven't seen them. What isn't available anywhere else is Der Golem; the tale of the stone figure brought to life to protect a Jewish community. It stars Paul Wagner. The film has got a heavy contrast but with nothing to compare it to, I can't say if this is the fault of the source material or the transfer. This was the only film that doesn't have a musical score, which definately detracts from the film. The movie itself is good but not up to the level of Caligari or Nosferatu. Whether to buy this set or not ultimately rests with how bad you want this film.
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1.0 out of 5 stars Masterworks of the German Horror Cinema Aug. 9 2000
The box set made by IMAGE (not ELITE) does not have all of the technical problems that Paul Kesler wrote of in his review.
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2.0 out of 5 stars Closing in on Caligari Feb. 28 2000
After the superb job Elite did on their "Night of the Living Dead" disc a while back, I was rather deflated when this compendium of German Expressionist horror arrived. On one hand, it's nice to have three films as seminal as "The Cabinet of Dr. Caligari," "Nosferatu," and "The Golem" brought together in one package, and it's a beautiful-looking set from the outside.
Problem is, when you explore the discs themselves, you discover they are not drawn, as the package proclaims, from the "finest" film elements available (though perhaps this simply means the finest available to Elite). "Caligari," for instance, is taken from a very shabby print, previously available in a budget VHS edition, with the same non-synchronized score as on that version. I was hoping for a "Caligari" that improved on the Kino-on-Video print already on disc, a version compromised by a translucent "bar" that runs across the top of the screen through many of the sequences. In fact, I was really wishing for a digitizing of the print brought out a few years ago by Republic Pictures video, a beautiful black-and-white copy that was further enhanced by an excellent music score. Here's hoping the latter print makes it to DVD one of these days; meanwhile, those wishing for a good copy of "Caligari" had better seek out the RP version as a tape rental.
"The Golem," which has the distinction of being the first rendering of this film on DVD, was an equal letdown.
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