The Cabinet Of Dr Caligari 1919

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(28) 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 Lil Dagover, Conrad Veidt, Werner Krauss
Director Robert Wiene
Genres Horror
Studio EUREKA ENTERTAINMENT
Rental release 29 September 2014

Customer Reviews

4.3 out of 5 stars
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Most Helpful Customer Reviews

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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9 of 9 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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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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4 of 4 people found the following review helpful By G. Ormrod VINE VOICE on 7 April 2003
Format: VHS Tape
This is an amazing silent movie & a classic in the gothic horror genre. It seems like many horror films since it have taken many themes from it.
The plot about a madman who controls a sleepwalker for his misdemenors turns at the end in what at the time must have been an intersting way. Although whilst watching the film now, we can see what turns the plot may take, it is still a materpiece which is well worth buying.
Unlike many silent moveis the acting is not too hammy & the scene and effects are fairly effective.
A masterwork.
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29 of 32 people found the following review helpful By Jake Lange on 20 Jun 2001
Format: DVD
This is a film that time nearly forgot, but that truly is the shadowy seed out of which both the horror film and film noir genres have developed over the last 75 years. (Woo-hoo!) But even if you aren't into all that German Expressionist, history of cinema stuff, you should know that this film is HUGELY entertaining in itself, if not even a good bit creepy (in a silent, 1919 sort of a way)! How could a dark story about a murderous sleepwalker, controlled by a demented madman, terrorizing the inhabitants of an old-world European village, centered around an insane asylum not be interesting?!? Not to mention that the film has a real twist/suprise ending... And then there are the visuals! Creepy, dark, jagged images that you could very well end up dreaming about later... For the film buff, this is essential viewing. And for the every-day man, the unknowing post-modern viewer, this is a film that will be a real suprise and treat... including the amazing sight of a german Edward Scissorhands gliding like a spectre across the screen, nearly 40 years before Tim Burton was even born. Not to be missed!
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