Monday, October 05, 2009

The Cabinet of Dr. Caligari (1920)

(1920) *****

The sinister Dr. Caligari with his somnambulist Cesare are terrorizing the German mountain village of Holstenwall. Two gentlemen, Alan and Francis see Dr. Caligari perform at a carnival in the village. Caligari's act involves a sleeping Cesare who he claims can answer any question he is asked. Alan asks Cesare how long he has to live, Cesare tells him that he will die before dawn tomorrow. The prophecy comes true.

So Francis and his girlfriend Jane get suspicious of the Dr. and begin to investigate. After refusing to kill Jane, Cesare kidnaps her instead. This strikes up a lengthy chase with the village folks but things aren't always what they seem to be in Dr. Caligari's realm.

If you have never seen this film then I recommended you do so whenever you have the opportunity. I queued this one after Landshark reviewed it last year. His review is much better than mine so read it. I admit that I have a weakness for silent films and I know not everyone shares my love for them. However, this film is visually stunning.

Virtually everything in the village is crooked or misshapen which makes Caligari's strange presence seem like it's distorting the very essence of the place. Each scene is a work of art. The story is good and interesting as well. One of the best film's from this era that I have ever seen.


Jordan said...

Yeah, this movie's extremely famous as probably the best example of the German Expressionist period. I've been meaning to see it for a long time, mainly because I refer to it constantly as a specific example of an abstract point (i.e. an image of the world involving the technique of the actual physical reality of the world being bent around and twisted into new shapes in order to reflect the psychology of the spectator) but I've never seen it. Anyway, cool!

Octopunk said...

I adore this movie. I saw it as a double feature with Nosferatu and it blew the big N out of the water in my opinion.

Catfreeek said...

I agree, I do believe it 's the best one I've ever seen.