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The Cabinet of Dr. Caligari

Released: 1920

Genre: Horror

Runtime: 52 min

MPAA Rating: NR

Director: Robert Wiene

Starring: Werner Krauss, Conrad Veidt, Friedrich Feher

German Expressionist film known for its revolutionary style and eye-popping set design.

A psychological art piece.

Review by: manofthemovie16

Added: 8 years ago

THE CABINET OF DR. CALIGARI single-handedly made the German Expressionist genre and horror genre in one sweeping motion, and at the same time revolutionized the style of stationary filmmaking. Before the time CALIGARI was made, many films were shot in one take from one camera. One earlier obscure film showed many actions happening on screen at once, but DR. CALIGARI was able to show different points of view, such as the group point of view and omniscient point of view through close-ups effortlessly. In addition, the striking black and white palette further extends the visual power of the film.

The stylized set design by the director of photography is a marvel to look at, to this day. The film reflects the events of the murders of a sleepwalker (somnambulist) under Dr. Caligari and their psychological effects on the time they were done and the time when a similar figure emerges. For example, a man escaping from villagers with a woman in his arms starts with him walking up stilted stairs. It's an unreal image that evokes his strained psychosis and is now famous for this fact.

Director Robert Weine knew he was making history when he showed close-up views of his actors, displaying their true emotions, though the actors do dramatize them. The film isn't so much scary as it is a psychological art piece.