Tuesday, 19 February 2013

The Cabinet of Dr. Caligari (1920) Classic Movie Review


Welcome to the mad world of, "The Cabinet of Dr. Caligari". Dr Caligari is a 1920 German silent horror film directed by Robert Wiene. This film along with Nosferatu (1922) (also German), introduced horror cinema to the world. It is one of the most important of what people now call "German Expressionist cinema" and is often called one of the greatest horror movies of the silent era.

The film looks like it was filmed on a stage with abstract looking sets, with buildings all crooked and jagged, which makes the town almost look like its straight from an early gothic novel, it works brilliantly suits the atmosphere of the movie perfectly. This film started of the trend of what we call in the world of movies the "twist ending". I mean what would classic movies like Citizen Kane (1941) and modern greats like Shutter Island (2010) be without the twist at the end, not the great movies they are, that's what!

Talking about Shutter Island if you enjoyed that film please watch this, I can't tell you how much you need to see this if you are a fan of Martin Scorsese's modern film. If you are to watch this film please look past the fact its a silent film, otherwise you will be missing out on one amazing film.

So what's the story, well the film starts off with two men sitting on a bench, talking about ghosts and the unknown, they go on to tell the story of Cesare, a sleep-walking circus performer (set in the town I mentioned before). But Cesare happens to be under the control of the murderous Dr. Caligari, a hideous and eerie looking man, who must be one of cinema's earliest great and stand out villains.

This film is not quite what it first appears after a few murders we are eventually lead up to one of cinemas best ever twists (and probably very first twist), I was amazed at the quality of narrative in this film. For the time of release everyone must of been shocked at the ending. When I watch and observe this movie, I cant help but feel that Tim Burton was surely influenced by this movie. Cesare was obviously an influence for Edward Scissor Hands and the look of the movie could of influenced Beetlejuice too.
Silent Cinema is brilliant there is so many classics of cinema released in the silent era, especially from Germany (the before mentioned Nosferatu, also the early work of the genius himself, Frtitz Lang). The silence works in this film, if it has a good soundtrack it builds up tension so well. Luckily you can see this film so easy on Youtube. And its only about 70 minutes long check it out.
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