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Cabinet of Dr. Caligari (Silent)

4.2 out of 5 stars 45 customer reviews

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Product Details

  • Actors: Conrad Veidt
  • Directors: Robert Wiene
  • Format: Black & White, DVD-Video, Silent, NTSC
  • Language: English
  • Region: All RegionsAll Regions
  • Number of discs: 1
  • MPAA Rating: UNRATED
  • Studio: Alpha Video
  • Release Date: June 4 2002
  • Run Time: 67 minutes
  • Average Customer Review: 4.2 out of 5 stars 45 customer reviews
  • ASIN: B000067IW0
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: #10,110 in DVD (See Top 100 in DVD)
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Product Description

Product Description

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.

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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.

Customer Reviews

4.2 out of 5 stars
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Top Customer Reviews

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
Filmed way back in 1921, "The Cabinet of Dr. Caligari" is perhaps one of the oldest horror films ever made. As a viewer, I see this film as a macabre, magnificent work of art. It was probably intended to be that way, since director Robert Wiene was heavily inspired by the German Expressionist movement. With its skewed and handpainted scenery, crooked angles, looming shadows, and ghostly aura, this feature film is an Edvard Munch painting brought to life. More importantly, its simple yet terrifying plotline helped give birth to early cinematic horror, which would forever place Lon Chaney, Bela Legosi, and Boris Karloff on pedestals.
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.
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Format: DVD
I discovered this film (probably as many twenty-somethings do) in college. I had to take a class on international cinema and I watched excerpts of this in a documentary about German Expressionism and the Weimar cinema. I was so entranced by the snippets I saw that I knew I simply had to view and own the whole thing. Thankfully, this inexpensive DVD is available. True, the film quality may leave something to be desired, but, as a student, I simply don't have much money to spend at the moment and I felt this version was a lifesaver. The film's cinematography is stunning; I can think of few others that place the audience so well in a confusing, murky, dreamlike environment. The costumes and makeup are outstanding as well. The lack of overblown special effects actually adds much to the film-- Cesare's stark makeup makes him five times more frightening than today's movie monsters. The high contrast between light and dark (in the setting and the costuming) only heightens the fear factor. In terms of plot, _Dr. Caligari_ keeps the audience engaged. The conclusion is open to interpretation. I have my own favorite theory of course, but I'll refrain from sharing it so that I don't spoil the film for any first time viewers. The film's influence is evident though I, like others, am surprised that no direct remake has been produced. One reviewer noted that Anthony Hopkins would make a good Dr. Caligari. I agree wholeheartedly and I posit that Willem Dafoe would make a fantastic Cesare.
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Format: DVD
The Image Entertainment edition of this great movie is astonishing. Don't take my word for it, just get it and enjoy this classic like you never have before. The new music adds suspense where it's needed. Turn up the volume, turn down the lights, grab your popcorn and commit yourself to this 1919 gem.
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Format: DVD
This is one of my favorite films of all time, and if must own it (yes, you must own it), DON'T get this edition -- get the Image Entertainment one (the other, more expensive edition). It's worth the extra 10 or so dollars. And let me tell you why:
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.
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