Cabinet of Dr. Caligari (Silent)
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Robert Wiene's pioneering masterpiece of German expressionism tells the tale of a terrifying somnambulist and his master, the bizarre Dr. Caligari. A true classic of the silent cinema.
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 --This text refers to an alternate DVD edition.
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Top Customer Reviews
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.
Here is the synopsis: A young man named Francis (Friedrich Feher) plays the narrator, opening his story at a carnival sideshow that opened in the town of Holstenwall. Francis and his best friend Alan (Hans Heinrich Von Twardowski) attended the show to witness a truly strange attraction: An aging scientist named Dr. Caligari (Werner Krauss) unveils to an astounded audience a ghoulish sleepwalker named Cesare (Conrad Veidt), who the Doctor solely commands through the power of hypnotism. Under his control, Cesare awakens from his coffin-like box to prophesise people's fates. When an excited Alan asks Cesare, "How long shall I live?" he grimly utters, "The time is short. You die at dawn!" Meanwhile, the town police investigate a string of bizarre murders. Not surprisingly, Alan would end up becoming the killer's next victim!
Devastated by the sudden loss of his friend, Francis seeks aid from the town police. Together, they find clues linking the cold-blooded killings with Dr. Caligari's priceless freak of nature.Read more ›
1. The Image edition has the original film-stock color tinting, an important creative device and a big part of what makes this such a beautiful film (especially for its time), this version does not.
2. The Image edition is beautifully transfered from a very nice print of the film, you can see everything as it was intended to be seen. I'm sure this is how the film looked when it was originally released. This edition is a terrible transfer from an already terrible print.
3. The Image edition has better music.
4. The Image edition has better intertitles.
5. The Image edition has an aditional audio commentary.
To sum it up, the Image edition isn't a piece of garbage, and it does this masterpiece justice. Don't waste your time with this edition. Sell your shoes if you can't afford the extra scratch, watching this DVD is painful. Trust me.
Most recent customer reviews
Best quality I have ever viewed this movie in. Everything the company professes it to b over and above other remakes by other producers.Published 6 months ago by paul koz
Horrible print. The sequences were largely unwatchable by any standard. I believe the title cards were okay. I would not recommend this version.Published on May 1 2014 by Barry Dylan Morgan
The silent film is one of horror's classics. I really enjoyed the atmosphere but prefer Nosferatu as the best one. Read morePublished on June 2 2011 by freemind12
Two men are sitting on a cement bench by the garden wall. One casually says there are evil spirits all around. Read morePublished on July 1 2007 by Bernie
"The Cabinet of Dr. Caligari" (1919), directed by Robert Wiene, is one of the best examples of German Expressionism. Read morePublished on Jan. 9 2007 by B. Alcat
The story is told in a very simplistic manner and the pace is sluggish. The hammy, melodramatic acting really dates the film and causes what was once a horror film to seem... Read morePublished on Aug. 7 2004 by Jonathon Allsopp
It has been rumored for years that when the producers set out to make The Cabinet of Dr. Caligari they intended to end the film with Caligari getting captured and no framing story. Read morePublished on July 1 2004
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