Das Cabinet des Dr. Caligari (1920)

A classic cinematic example of early German expressionism that relates the tale of Dr. Caligari, a fairground showman who hypnotizes an innocent villager, compelling him to carry out fiendish murders. Unarguably a landmark in world cinema, Robert Weine’s one-of-a-kind thriller features fantastical, heavily stylized sets, anti-realist acting and evocative subjective camerawork.

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This video is the full silent film. It shows dialogue cards between shots which gives a peek back into the history of film, specifically the evolution of the horror film genre.

American Director Tim Burton is best known for the use of German Expressionist elements in his films. He creates beautifully dark environments for his films and often deals with the themes of horror and grotesque. His inspiration with Dr.Caligari is clearly apparent in his film ‘Edward Scissorhands’ where his Frankenstein-ish character Edward (played by Johnny Depp) clearly resembles the Somnambulist of Dr.Caligari. Another example is the villainous character ‘Penguin’ from Burton’s ‘Batman Returns’ who is a splitting image of Dr.Caligari himself. More so, his other films ‘Sleepy Hollow’ and ‘Corpse Bride’ are set against a beautifully grotesque atmosphere, much on the lines of Weine’s world of ‘The Cabinet of Dr.Caligari’. [Broken Projector]

Genre: Horror | Suspense
Color: Black & White
Country: Germany
Director: Robert Wiene
Cast: Conrad Veidt, Werner Krauss
Also known as: Das Kabinett des Doktor Caligari (Germany, alternate spelling), The Cabinet of Dr. Caligari (USA)

Written by Offbeatism [LMD]

November 30, 2009 at 9:05 am

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