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Cabinet of Dr. Caligari
     

The Cabinet of Dr. Caligari

3.8 8
Director: Robert Wiene,

Cast: Robert Wiene, Werner Krauss, Conrad Veidt, Lil Dagover

 

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In one of the most influential films of the silent era, Werner Krauss plays the title character, a sinister hypnotist who travels the carnival circuit displaying a somnambulist named Cesare (Conrad Veidt). In one tiny German town, a series of murders coincides with Caligari's visit. When the best friend of

Overview

In one of the most influential films of the silent era, Werner Krauss plays the title character, a sinister hypnotist who travels the carnival circuit displaying a somnambulist named Cesare (Conrad Veidt). In one tiny German town, a series of murders coincides with Caligari's visit. When the best friend of hero Francis (Friedrich Feher) is killed, the deed seems to be the outgrowth of a romantic rivalry over the hand of the lovely Jane (Lil Dagover). Francis suspects Caligari, but he is ignored by the police. Investigating on his own, Francis seemingly discovers that Caligari has been ordering the somnambulist to commit the murders, but the story eventually takes a more surprising direction. The film's twisting plot takes its cue from its Expressionist style, which uses distorted perspectives to mirror the characters' extreme emotional states. The village is a maze of painted sets, filled with unnatural shapes and angles, the actors' movements are highly stylized, and everyone wears thick, grotesque makeup. Through the rest of the silent era, and on into such talkies as Frankenstein (1931), Svengali (1931), and Murders in the Rue Morgue (1932), audiences were treated to such Caligariesque devices as spider-like shadows, bizarre makeup and lighting effects, and zombie-like characterizations. Caligari's Expressionist style ultimately led to the dark shadows and sharp angles of the film noir urban crime dramas of the 1940s, many of which were directed by such German émigrés as Billy Wilder and Robert Siodmak.

Editorial Reviews

All Movie Guide - Jonathan Crow
The Cabinet of Dr. Caligari is a towering landmark film in cinematic history; it had a profound stylistic impact on much of German cinema before WWII, it was the progenitor of the moody chiaroscuro look of 1940s film noir, and, according to Siegfried Kracauer in his seminal book From Caligari to Hitler, it was a harbinger of the rise of Naziism. Originally scripted as a bizarre fever dream about the sick soul of Weimar Germany, Caligari had a prologue and epilogue added over the objections of screenwriters Carl Mayer and Hans Janowitz that explained the tale as the ramblings of a madman. Though its political subtext may have been subordinated, its artistic achievements remained potent. Marked by off-kilter sets, lighting, and costumes, the visual style of Caligari brilliantly fuses into a seamless exterior projection of the narrator's demented interior state of mind. The acting is similarly stylized, featuring striking performances by Werner Krauss as the sinister Dr. Caligari and Conrad Veidt as his somnambulist plaything. The international success of Caligari spawned a series of Expressionistic films, including such prominent works as Der Golem (1920), Nosferatu (1922), and Metropolis (1927). Its canted grotesque look has proven a major influence on such diverse directors as Kenji Mizoguchi, Kenneth Anger, and Tim Burton. In spite of its age, The Cabinet of Dr. Caligari is a hypnotic masterpiece that still manages to unnerve and provoke.

Product Details

Release Date:
08/16/2016
UPC:
0885444714948
Original Release:
1920
Source:
Mr Fat - W Video
Time:
1:07:00
Sales rank:
70,363

Cast & Crew

Performance Credits
Werner Krauss Dr. Caligari
Conrad Veidt Cesare
Lil Dagover Jane
Friedrich Feher Francis
Hans Heinrich Von Twardowski Alan
Rudolf Lettinger Dr. Olson
Henri Peters-Arnolds Actor
Ludwig Rex Actor
Elsa Wagner Actor
Rudolf Klein-Rogge A Criminal

Technical Credits
Robert Wiene Director
Willy Hameister Cinematographer
Hans Janowitz Screenwriter
Carl Mayer Screenwriter
Erich Pommer Producer
Walter Reimann Costumes/Costume Designer,Production Designer
Walter Röhrig Production Designer
Peter Schirmann Score Composer
Hermann Warm Production Designer,Set Decoration/Design

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Cabinet Of Dr. Caligari 4.1 out of 5 based on 0 ratings. 7 reviews.
MomKatt_Ticia More than 1 year ago
This classic influenced SO many future films and still stands today as one of the finest examples of German Expressionism ever created. Plus ... Conrad Veidt! Anyone who professes to love movies and hasn't seen "Caligari" needs to correct that deficiency right away. A "must" staple for any serious film collector or lover of horror.
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