Monday, October 25, 2010

The Cabinet of Dr. Caligari



(1920) ****1/2

Alan drags his friend Francis to the local fair, and convinces him to check out creepy Dr. Caligari and somnambulist Cesare. After he rouses Cesare from his slumber, Caligari invites the audience to ask any question of Cesare, who can see the past and the future. Alan asks "when will I die?" and receives the response "before dawn." The prediction comes true: in the morning the town is shocked by the news that Alan has been murdered. Though Francis and Alan were in love with the same girl, Francis vows to solve the mystery of his friend's death.

I love it when a classic meets (or in this case exceeds) expectations. I was all set for a bit of a yawnfest... a silent film, made in the early days of the medium; how good could it be? But I found the crazy, distorted sets fascinating and the story compelling. Every October I try to round out my exposure to horror classics, and "The Cabinet of Dr. Caligari" was a surprising pleasure to add to the roster.

6 comments:

Catfreeek said...

Are you checking off my list? So glad you loved this one too:)

Landshark said...

Nice, I was similarly surprised at how fun that one was.

DCD said...

How cool!

JPX said...

I've never seen this. I must confess that I have an aversion to silent films. The distraction of the "dialogue" combined with the "sped up" appearance of the film takes me out of the movie. This film does sound like fun though - I need to give it a chance. Nice review.

Catfreeek said...

JPX it was redone in the 80's as a talkie and is virtually the same film. They even used the same sets. I reviewed both of them last year.

Whirlygirl said...

I've been hesitant too, but you've sold mr, AC.