Das Cabinet des Dr. Caligari. (The Cabinet of Dr. Caligari) Reviews

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Super Reviewer
½ September 13, 2012
An unforgettable masterpiece of German Expressionism.
Super Reviewer
January 9, 2009
Beyond being an iconic milestone in the evolution of cinema, Robert Wiene's masterpiece is still as entertaining as ever. The truly great films never go out of style.
Super Reviewer
October 18, 2010
Probably the best silent film I have ever seen, Caligari has a clear emphasis on German Expressionism while also being a methodically psychological horror film about the supernatural and the surreal imagination of the insane. Silent films started off as filmed plays, and in that vein this film constructed all its sets by hand, painting them in odd patterns, and showing interesting angles and vacant shots of this small village. Besides the interesting set design for the walls and floors, the stairs and windows were strange as well. The slanting light (possibly natural) barely illuminated the creeping corners and mororse faces of the townspeople. The town itself is romanticized in the loose culture of the times, being small and simple, without the benefits of electricity or modern technology. Much of this was candlelit which lent to an atmosphere where monsters and creepy crawlies could be behind the next wall just waiting to murder you. Not such a stretch since a string of murders mysteriously starts after the appearance of the gypsy centric fair and a tent advertising a coma creep controlled by a large eyebrowed crone named Dr. Caligari. The somnambulist, or coma patient, is a vampiric man who lays within a box and predicts the future based on some unnamed psychic abilities. The look of it and the intricate storyline lends to a very creepy vibe. The characters all express their emotions in a wide and overdramatic way, as this is a German Expressionist film. Everything is bigger, darker, more hurried and vague, and you never quite know who the villain is. Beside that you are always theorizing whether there is any true magic, or it's medicine, or frankly a dream of an insane person. Nothing is ever clear or true, and that leads to feeling unsettled and uneasy over what is on the screen. True, it's silent, and true the characters are at times bland, but it's the storytelling and the fact that it's a horror film that keeps the suspense and the intensity alive. It's a horror film that will have staying power through the decades to come.
Super Reviewer
December 26, 2011
An interesting and strange film that captures the imagination, then leaves you feeling like you've just had a smoke of weed. For it's time it's very current and shows how far cinema has come and what different styles were popular back then and has inspired many directors, art directors and films. A must watch even if you never see it ever again.
Super Reviewer
October 23, 2011
Truly haunting images.
Super Reviewer
January 25, 2007
this film has influenced so many others. the story is excellent, the art direction is unique, and the music sets the stage perfectly. without question one of the first and one of the best horror films ever made.
Super Reviewer
April 22, 2007
I loved the stylised sets and the twist at the end. However at first I was a little unappriecative, as it builds quite slowly for such a short film. My copy also has rather confusingly designed dialogue cards/screens which can be difficult to read, but after a while you get used to it.
Super Reviewer
October 22, 2009
An icon of the German Expressionism, this is a radically anti-bourgeois work of art that influenced an entire post-war era and managed to express with its chilling stylized visuals the deepest feelings of a society in crisis and its search for artistic innovation.
Super Reviewer
January 7, 2008
A fantasy crime/horror thriller, an icon of the silent era and cinema in general. You just have to see it at some point in your life.
Super Reviewer
½ January 22, 2007
A lovely jumping point for learning about German Expressionism in the cinema - if not its FIRST example, perhaps, then certainly one of its best known, behind Metropolis. The dreamlike nonsensicality of the plot and the flat cardboard sets, so sharply and strikingly designed that you forget their lack of actual dimension, create a totally bizarre cinematic world, quite unlike anything of its time or any other time. It meanders into territory that occasionally grows repetitive or uninteresting, but the ending is great, casting a shadow of irresolution and doubt that you don't often find in films of the 20s. The whole enterprise is surprisingly eerie, as befitting its position of arguably the first true horror movie, and the shadowy set design and Conrad Veidt's menacing somnambulist seem to slide perfectly into this sanguine world. Even the intertitles, dark and chaotic, are an excellent fit for the movie.

You'll probably see this in a film class, if that's your academic pursuit of choice, but if you have even a remote interest in the history of the genre or film in general, Dr. Caligari is worth a visit.
Super Reviewer
½ October 13, 2010
Certainly not the worst of the "films that changed movies" (that would be "Battleship Potemkin"), but "The Cabinet of Dr. Caligari" is just as melodramatic, nonsensical and silly as the rest of them. What makes it a bit more special is the inspired set design and a story that at least goes somewhere. It's influences are as far reaching as the rest of the films from that era, most noticeably referenced with "Shutter Island".
Super Reviewer
September 3, 2010
This is the first real horror movie ever made, so if you're a horror fan, you must see where it all started. The designs in this movie are beautiful and the story is brilliant. This is a must see for any movie buff.
Super Reviewer
½ July 4, 2010
No Cabinet, no Tim Burton. Nuff said. Full review later.
Super Reviewer
April 4, 2010
The Cabinet of Dr. Caligari is a towering landmark film in cinematic history; it had a profound stylistic impact on much of German cinema before WWII, it was the progenitor of the moody chiaroscuro look of 1940s film noir, and, according to Siegfried Kracauer in his seminal book From Caligari to Hitler, it was a harbinger of the rise of Naziism. Originally scripted as a bizarre fever dream about the sick soul of Weimar Germany, Caligari had a prologue and epilogue added over the objections of screenwriters Carl Mayer and Hans Janowitz that explained the tale as the ramblings of a madman. Though its political subtext may have been subordinated, its artistic achievements remained potent. Marked by off-kilter sets, lighting, and costumes, the visual style of Caligari brilliantly fuses into a seamless exterior projection of the narrators demented interior state of mind. The acting is similarly stylized, featuring striking performances by Werner Krauss as the sinister Dr. Caligari and Conrad Veidt as his somnambulist plaything. The international success of Caligari spawned a series of Expressionistic films, including such prominent works as Der Golem (1920), Nosferatu (1922), and Metropolis (1927). Its canted grotesque look has proven a major influence on such diverse directors as Kenji Mizoguchi, Kenneth Anger, and Tim Burton. In spite of its age, The Cabinet of Dr. Caligari is a hypnotic masterpiece that still manages to unnerve and provoke to this very day.
Super Reviewer
½ May 24, 2009
This was the first silent film I ever saw and it really blew me away for its inventiveness and visual style. Love German Expressionism.
Super Reviewer
January 24, 2009
Surreal, ethereal, trippy, meserizing, and altogether brilliant and innovating for its time. Now, in a modern world, this film doesn't hold up, but as a piece of history, this film is unmatched when it comes to mood, tone, and atmosphere. This is truly one of the great ones- the sort of film that almost all others are indebted to.
Super Reviewer
October 11, 2008
Certainly entertaining, but I wasn't blown away by it (I'm not sure how I should rate it, the style should get more stars than 3..)

The black and white, and the music complement the surrealistic style. I've never seen anything like it. But I'm definitely in for more!!

"Du musst Caligari werden!!"
Super Reviewer
October 14, 2008
I guess some shots were very inventive, and the whole thing kind of reminded me of abstract expressionism or something, but the entire movie was so mindnumbingly boring I was unable to enjoy anything. I admit I'm not the hugest fan of silents so maybe I can't judge too well, but I felt this movie could've been executed so much better than it actually was.
Super Reviewer
½ November 8, 2007
the pinnacle of german expressionism; absolutely stunning looking and still remarkably creepy.
Super Reviewer
June 11, 2007
The Everest of german expressionism. An ambiguos, terrifying and terrific tale.
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