Das Cabinet des Dr. Caligari. (The Cabinet of Dr. Caligari) - Movie Reviews - Rotten Tomatoes

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

Page 1 of 83
July 15, 2016
I've always heard this is the best horror movie ever so why not give it a shot?
July 12, 2016
It's now aged to be viewed mainly by cinephiles. Influential to the horror genre, but it's rather more artistic than attempt to terrify with the German expressionist visual style from production to lighting; a balanced aesthetic to artistically consider this one of the best in the genre. (B+)

(Full review TBD)
½ July 8, 2016
With only five minutes left in the film, I was ready to pass off The Cabinet of Dr. Caligari as a necessary stepping stone in the genre of horror that, unfortunately, has not dated very well. I was, and still am, ready to praise the movie for its ghoulishly gorgeous set design, one of the definitive sets for German expressionism, and its atmosphere for the depiction of a (presumably) old fable about a doctor who controls a somnambulist (or sleepwalker) in order to commit horrific murders throughout a small village. I was, and still am, ready to raise an eyebrow at silent film acting. Imagine watching a middle school production of Beauty and the Beast, where you recognize how well directed it is, but you cannot help but wince at when the melodrama of the actors' performances takes you out of the atmosphere. Now replace the actors with (presumably) trained adults. I was almost certainly ready to deduct points for major pacing issues. With Dr. Caligari (Werner Krauss) and Cesare (Conrad Veidt) hamming up evil/creepiness, the film still thinks that it can fool you into thinking there is another explanation for such events. By the fifth act, when our hero Francis (Friedrich Feher) reads Caligari's diary with other doctors at the local mental asylum, I would argue that there were zero revelations. And blah, blah, blah, justice prevailed. Gag me.

*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.
½ July 4, 2016
I will admit, this is the first silent film I have ever watched, especially in its entirety. I cant help but be in awe of how difficult it was to tell a story with no dialog. I watched this movie simply because I decided to watch the entire top 100 horror movies on rotten tomatoes, and this is number one.
June 12, 2016
Definitely a creepy and twisty story, though over-stylized and acted way sub-par.
½ June 6, 2016
Haunting piece of film history. It still remains a mysterious puzzle piece to me, but it's such a great work of art. A must see for horror fans, it being the first real horror film and all...
February 26, 2016
It's so creepy, even almost 100 years after its release.
½ February 13, 2016
Although this film kept me interested the entire time, I was overall disappointed by it due to its anticlimactic ending and unscary story.
½ February 8, 2016
This is a classic suspense-horror. It is quite an important cinematic masterpiece due to its German Expressionist style. Clocking in under 1 hour, it may be the 1st film with a ending twist. It also employs a frame story concept, one of the earliest cinematic examples of such a method of storytelling.

This film noir has influenced so many films throughout Hollywood history, and from that perspective alone, is worth watching.
February 1, 2016
Probably my favourite silent film.
January 21, 2016
Masterpiece. The first major film to have a twist ending. Won't give it away because I know how much my Facebook friends love movies from the 1920's!!
½ January 16, 2016
Prepare to be bored; and to be hated for being so. While critics may hail this as a masterpiece of German Expressionism and condescend any ignorant rube who dares to contradicts them, the fact is this film is lackluster. The generic orchestral music used to set the mood is mind-numbing, the fun-house props look like the rejects of a high school wood shop class, the kooky text was, at times, hard to read, and the story wasn't engaging until the big twist at the end (which gave it some slight redemption). I'd recommend skipping over this one unless it's required viewing for a college Film Theory class.
½ December 11, 2015
Never allow him to tell your fortune or you're dead.

Francis, his fiancée, and his best friend head to a county fair that has a fortune teller of sorts, Dr. Caligari. Dr. Caligari is able to awake a dead creature/man named Cesare who can tell the future. Cesare tells the best friend he is going to die and he does that very night. Francis escapes to tell his tale. It will be hard to find the fair and doctor until Cesare slips up one night and falls in love with a girl he is supposed to kill. The girl's family, authorities, and Francis track the doctor back to Cesare and the girl at the fair.

"Step right up."

Robert Weine, director of Crime and Punishment, Der Rosenkavalier, Ultimatum, Eight Days of Happiness, Panic in Chicago, Scandal in Paris, and The Guardsman, delivers The Cabinet of Dr. Caligari. The storyline for this picture is very interesting and takes place in remarkable settings with beautiful backdrops, costumes, and contains perfectly performed performances.

"Let's go to the fair."

I came across this when it was recently added to Netflix for the Halloween season and added it to my wish list. I loved how this film was presented and told. The backdrops were so well done and the makeup and costumes were excellent. I strongly recommend seeing this for fans of the genre and era.

"We queens are not allowed to answer the call from our heart."

Grade: A
Super Reviewer
November 22, 2015
A terrifying, highly influential milestone of German Expressionism and also a radically anti-bourgeois work of Art that at the time intended to express with its chilling stylized visuals the deepest feelings of a post-war society in crisis and in search of artistic innovation.
November 19, 2015
I always like to include a silent film in my Shocktober viewing since they can be as spooky and scary as modern horror films. The Cabinet of Dr. Caligari is maybe the most visually interesting movie I've ever seen and is certainly one of the eeriest films I've seen. The first time I saw this movie was in a film history class in college. I found it strange and creepy then and I still do now. It influenced the look and style of later horror and fantasy films both in Germany and abroad throughout the rest of the silent era and into the early sound era though no film would quite match its extreme visual distortions. Those films would of course influence later horror films and so forth until the present.

Directed by Robert Wiene in 1920, The Cabinet of Dr. Caligari is the prime example of German Expressionism in film, a visual style in which characters and settings are distorted and out of joint. The film is set in a town on a pointy hill covered with sharp angular houses; it is obviously a painting on a backdrop, and we are meant to know so. Doors are triangular and slanted, windows resemble rhombuses, zigzag lines are meant to represent grass, and chimneys are tilted. There is not a single aspect of any set that is not distorted in some way.

The movie begins with an old man and young man sitting on a bench outdoors. The old man tells the young man that the world is full of spirits. The young man, Francis, then tells him his own story of how he came to lose his fiancé. The mysterious and sinister looking Dr. Caligari (who with his top hat, cane, and stout figure resembles the Batman villain, the Penguin) applies for a permit to showcase his somnambulist, Cesare, who has been asleep all 23 years that he has been alive. Caligari awakens Cesare from a coffin (or cabinet) before a crowd touting that Cesare, who wears all black and has a very pale face, knows the answer to any question. A friend of Francis's asks when he will die. The somnambulist replies...before the next morning. The prediction comes true; the friend is murdered. Caligari has total control over the somnambulist and uses him to carry out murder and other sinister acts. When Cesare abducts Francis's fiancé from her bed I was reminded of the scene in King Kong where Kong picks Fay Wray out of her room and carries her away. As Francis follows Caligari to learn more about the sinister doctor the plot thickens, and even twists, and the film only gets stranger.

The horror in The Cabinet of Dr. Caligari comes from its distorted depiction of reality. It puts you in an uneasy mood right from the start and you feel as though you are in a surreal nightmare. As the film goes on you realize that there is no explanation for the bizarre shapes of things man-made and nature-made; this is simply the shape of the world. That daytime scenes are in a hazy yellow-orange filter and nights in an eerie blue just adds to the curious, but creepy, atmosphere of the film. This is a genuinely spooky, but not-too-scary movie that is also an important part of film history and an excellent film to watch this Shocktober.
½ November 12, 2015
Okay, this is expressionism!
November 8, 2015
Master piece it is what i would consider the first true horror movie but i will say that for people who are patient this won't be a good choice for you
November 3, 2015
Recently crossed this one off my Netflix que: Made in 1920, Dr. Caligari is considered one of the first true horror films. It's a striking example of its time period's theatrical scenic design. Catch it while it's still streaming!
October 29, 2015
Undoubtedly revolutionary for its time
Page 1 of 83