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The Masterworks of the German Horror Cinema (Nosferatu / The Cabinet of Dr. Caligari / The Golem) [Import]
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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Top Customer Reviews
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.
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.Read more ›
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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