Das Cabinet des Dr. Caligari. (The Cabinet of Dr. Caligari) Reviews
Original rating: 7/10, circa May 2012.
(Full review TBD)
*SPOILER* What I had dismissed as an odd opening could have actually given away the twist. This whole story is constructed as a narrative by Francis, as he is telling this to a willing listener in some garden. Francis' fiancee Jane (Lil Dagover) is wandering through the garden, disengaged from human interaction. Francis observes her wandering with ecstatic attention, while the listener seems like he is in his own world. When Francis begins to tell the story, the listener looks like he is trying not to fall asleep! Rude, right? Maybe. Once the story is over, we return to the garden. Our heroes lived to tell the tale. And then they walk to the main hall... of the asylum. Francis proposes to Jane (weren't they already engaged?), Cesare is hanging out with everybody else, and Caligari enters the hall as the director of the asylum, who, perhaps understandably, instills fear in Francis, one of his many patients. Francis seems to have been in the asylum for a while, as when he points to the director and screams, "Dr. Caligari!," the director has this A-HA moment as to what might be wrong with Francis. This eliminates most probability of this being another experiment conducted by the nefarious Caligari. Coming down from the high of a twist ending, I would say that the creepy visuals of the movie are not too diminished by the story, one way or another. The music was suitably atonal. The twist can justify some, but not all, pacing and acting issues, as if they were the poor creation of a madman. That is a stretch, if I were truthfully judging the quality of the movie. I would watch it again, to see how I absorb everything with the knowledge of what the story actually is.