The Cabinet Of Dr Caligari 1919

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(29) IMDb 8.1/10
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This classic piece of German expressionist cinema employs stylized sets, costumes and make-up to tell its story from a shifting point of view. Dr Caligari runs a side show at a fair where a somnambulist predicts someone's death and that night the person is murdered. The somnambulist turns out to be a lunatic from a local asylum and Dr Caligari the asylum's insane director.

Starring:
Conrad Veidt, Werner Krauss
Rental Formats:
DVD, Blu-ray

Product Details

Discs
  • Feature universal
Runtime 1 hour 12 minutes
Starring Conrad Veidt, Werner Krauss, Lil Dagover
Director Robert Wiene
Genres Horror
Rental release 16 November 2009
Discs
  • Feature universal
Runtime 1 hour 12 minutes
Starring Conrad Veidt, Werner Krauss, Lil Dagover
Director Robert Wiene
Genres Horror
Studio Eureka
Rental release 29 September 2014

Customer Reviews

4.3 out of 5 stars
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54 of 55 people found the following review helpful By Barbara (Burkowsky) Underwood on 16 Dec 2008
Format: DVD
Although "The Cabinet of Dr Caligari" is one of the best known and important silent films of our time, let me point out right away that this is no guarantee that it will appeal to everyone. For many, it is a particularly heavy, depressing and even dreadful film, but this only proves that it is successful in its Horror genre, as well as its experiment to blend commercial movie narrative with the modern art style of German Expressionism. By all accounts it was very successful, giving inspiration to other directors and actors in later years and still holding its own as a landmark in cinema history.

The first thing that strikes the viewer is that most of the sets are entirely artificial, sculpted or painted in extreme Expressionist style with angular shapes which convey a sense of distress, turmoil and dread - all the qualities one would find in the mentally ill, which is the underlying theme of this story. Just like gestures, make-up and acting styles like pantomime were often used in the silent film medium to express moods, feelings and concepts, so do the Expressionist sets in this film convey a great deal about the characters and story. The famous leading stars, namely Conrad Veidt, Lil Dagover and Werner Krauss wear extreme make-up in line with the use of strong light and dark contrasts often used in other German Expressionist films of the 1920s, and their acting style is perfectly suited to the theme and overall atmosphere of the film. It contains all the elements of a disturbing horror film with a mad scientist who has control over a somnambulist - a sleepwalker - to the point of apparently getting him to commit murders for him.
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10 of 10 people found the following review helpful By Boydon Boydon on 20 Jun 2014
Format: Blu-ray
Oh dear, don't think Jaffa has done any homework.
Just look at the (hd) comparison sequences currently online (easily found via usual search engines), and marvel at the astonishing quality of this major restoration by the FW Murnau Foundation. Mainly restored from an original camera negative, it is almost akin to watching the original takes - the image is rock-steady, the detail is incredible and missing frames have been reinserted with all the skill of a professional invisible mender. In short, this is one of the finest early film restorations ever completed, and is an absolute must for fans (and would-be fans) of Caligari, no matter how many other copies you may have.

And if you want to fully appreciate just what an amazing job the Murnau team has done, blu-ray will show it to you - the closest we can currently get in our living rooms to the original nitrate experience. My order is already in. Note: no connection with FWMF or Eureka, though I will confess to an undying love of the achievements of Anke Wilkening at Murnau.
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4 of 4 people found the following review helpful By G. Ratcheson on 20 Sep 2014
Format: Blu-ray
This review is of the DVD from the 2014 Masters Of Cinema Restored Edition

So there is no doubt about it, I'll start this review by stating that the restoration is nothing short of stunning.

The previous version I have to compare it with is the 2002 Kino USA, which was considered pretty comparable to the previous Eureka. The difference in picture quality between the 2002 Kino & the 2014 MOC is similar to that of a 1 pound public domain silent dvd, & the new silent film, "The Artist" from last year. This restoration is that good.

And while I've got a bit more to say, that's really all that matters.

The running time is as follows: 2002 Kino 1:14.18, 2014 MOC 1:17.13.

As this is one of the most famous silent films in history, I would like to assume that most people reading this are familiar with the plot, so I'm going to avoid going there. In my opinion, along with Lang's Metropolis & Die Nibelungen, & Murnau's Faust & Nosferatu, Caligari is one of the top 5 surviving Weimar era German films. Some would say it's the best of the bunch, & while I would likely pick Nosferatu, I couldn't argue with a person who felt that Caligari was the best of the Weimar era expressionistic films.

Highly influential, it's also likely the most expressionistic in style of all of the surviving German silents. We also get great performances from several stars of the time: the great Conrad Veidt, in what was a very unique role for him (I would have loved to have seen him play Dracula), Werner Krauss, Lil Dagover, & a cameo from Rudolf Klein-Rogge (Metropolis).
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23 of 25 people found the following review helpful By A Customer on 18 April 2002
Format: DVD
Robert Wiene's 1919 classic "Das Cabinet Des Dr Caligari" is, in every way, a courageous piece of film making.
The Expressionistic set design, as the backdrop to the story of a mad doctor and his manipulation of a somnambulist, is brilliantly conceived, especially when considering the twist at the end of the film. The sets give the film a definite and appropriate dreamlike quality.
The importance of the film cannot be overstated since it undoubtedly influenced the later Universal monster movies that proliferated in the 30's and 40's as well as later horror films.
It seems certain James Whale was inspired by German Expressionism, if not "The cabinet of Dr Caligari", for the set design on his version of "Frankenstein".
The DVD has been designed to emulate the Expressionism of the film. Good production values and attention to detail with an in-depth audio overview of the film.
This film is essential viewing for anyone interested in early German cinema or the history of horror films but, it is equally valid as an important piece of German Expressionist art.
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