Even in the early days of cinema, Hollywood provided fluff. The Germans began to really experiment in the 1920s and were considered the real artists as well as the main rival to the studios. The three films on the German Silent Masterworks--The Golem, The Cabinet of Dr. Caligari, and Nosferatu--represent this great experimentation and high art that Germany had to offer; I only wish that the compilers had provided more features to complement the great works.
Der Golem (The Golem, directed by Robert Wiene, is the earliest example still in existence of a full length horror film. It is also the earliest surviving example of German Expressionism. The film is considered to be a forerunner of the classic image of Frankenstein. The moody atmosphere would influence the other tow films as well as movies to our present day. The grittiness of ancient Prague has never been captured as well. It is through this early film that we can understand and appreciate the horror genre more fully while still being entertained.
The Cabinet of Dr. Caligari is fascinating. There is no other word to describe the mood, set, or storyline. This is when film took on a new life. We could actually see a new world. German Expressionism fully flowers in this shocker about a mad scientist and his helper who appears to be in a coma. This, like the other two, not only is important to watch for film history; it still packs a punch!
Nosferatu is the third and best known film in the collection. It is the first Dracula film as well as one of the great F. W. Murnaus' films. This vampire is not the suave Dracula of later films of even the book, yet a frightening bloodcuker with oddly elongated limbs and teeth. There is a forboding air throughout the film that doesn't lift until the very end. Don't watch this one without a light on!
Now, I have to tell you that these films are necessary for any film or buff. The question is: Is this the right format? The set does come with a useful booklet and some stills; however, where is the additional commentary? Books upon books have been written on these three films, yet not even one film historian could provide an audio track for one of the movies? I think that's a shame which is why I give the DVD itself three stars.
So, if you want to splurge and try to get all three films separately, that would probably be the best thing. If you're a film addict as myself and want to own three of the best early German flicks without spending a fortune--look no further.