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Das Cabinet Des Dr. Caligari (Masters of Cinema) (DUAL
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SYNOPSIS: One of the most iconic masterpieces in cinema history, Robert Wiene's Das Cabinet des Dr. Caligari shook filmgoers worldwide and changed the direction of the art form. Now presented in a definitive restoration, the film's chilling, radically expressionist vision is set to grip viewers again.
At a local carnival in a small German town, hypnotist Dr. Caligari presents the somnambulist Cesare, who can purportedly predict the future of curious fairgoers. But at night, the doctor wakes Cesare from his sleep to enact his evil bidding...
Incalculably influential, the film's nightmarishly jagged sets, sinister atmospheric and psychological emphasis left an immediate impact in its wake (horror, film noir, and gothic cinema would all be shaped directly by it). But this diabolical tale nevertheless stands alone - now more mesmerising than ever in this new Dual-Format special edition.
- New high-definition presentation, from the extensive FWMS restoration
- Option of Stereo and 5.1 surround scores
- Original German intertitles with optional English subtitles
- New and exclusive audio commentary by film historian David Kalat
- You Must Become Caligari - New video essay by film critic David Cairns
- Caligari: The Birth of Horror in the First World War - 52 minute documentary on the cultural and historical impact of the film
- On The Restoration - three short video pieces on the film's restoration
- Trailer for the release of the new restoration on the film
- 44-PAGE BOOKLET featuring vintage writing on the film by Lotte H. Eisner; an original Variety review of the film; and rare archival imagery
"This venerable silent classic changed the way movies were made and appreciated." --Adrian Turner - Radio Times
"Undoubtedly one of the most exciting and inspired horror movies ever made." --Time Out Film Guide
"The sheer audacity of the film's physical and psychological conceit will haunt you forever." --Empire
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The theatrical feel to this film is incredibly atmospheric and doesn't feel dated at all. The artistic nature of the sets coupled with the beautiful music creates a unique world that is rarely captured on film. The story is played out in "6 acts" and the pacing is nice; not slow and equally not speedy. 77 minutes flies by with this piece of expressionist artwork.
I love Hitchcock, Chaplin and Keaton but this piece of art almost makes me rank it higher than all of them. Buy it now and enjoy a superb quality version of a film that is almost 100 years old!
The visual style is arresting and disturbing, a triumph of German expressionism. Every set - the whole town, the forest, the asylum - everything is jarringly odd angles. There isn't a right angle to be seen. Think about the backdrops for Tim Burton's `Nightmare before Christmas' and you'll get the idea. It looks, to today's eyes, like the back drop to a cartoon. Back in 1920 it must have been a huge surprise to cinema audiences. As well as the set design is the use of unusual camera shots, odd perspectives, odd lighting that just add to the feeling of a surreal dream.
The story itself is the tale of a man, almost an automaton, whose will is totally subservient to the evil Caligari. It is a template that was copied many times by Hammer with their Frankenstein films. Caligari arrives at a small town fair, with a mysterious cabinet. Inside is Cesare, a somnambulist who has been asleep for 23 years, and is totally controlled by Caligari. In short order a series of mysterious murders are committed, and Cesare, under Caligari's influence, is the obvious suspect.
Throughout the film there are small plot twists and misdirection - there is a copycat murderer who makes Cesare appear guiltless for a while, and how can the hero of the tale, Francis, be watching Cesare doing nothing in Caligari's room when his fiancé is being kidnapped by the said somnambulist? But this is topped off by the big twist at the end. Francis follows Caligari to a lunatic asylum, where it transpires that Caligari is the director, and also quite insane. Then comes the final thrilling twist, the icing on the cake (which I will not spoil here for newbies). This is probably the first instance of the twist ending so beloved of M. Night Shaylaman in film history.
There are learned essays out there that will tell you that the main part of the film is an allegory for the state of Germany at the time of filming, and the history of the beginning and final scenes, which were tacked onto the film later. I've never been too interested in drawing these allusions, and whilst I find it an interesting historical document in terms of film history and development, that takes second place to my enjoyment of it as a rippingly good yarn, and an entertaining and engrossing film.
This version from Eureka is a decent release. The print of the film is more than acceptable. For a film over 90 years old it is in remarkable shape. It is a lot better than some other releases I have seen over the years. There is an interesting musical score, a decent and interesting commentary and a short vampire film directed by Weine as an extra. It's not quite in the same league as Eureka's `Masters of Cinema' series, but it is a pretty good version. All in all a decent release of an absolute classic that every cinema lover who enjoys imaginative twists and disturbing settings will enjoy.
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