Cabinet of Dr. Caligari (1920)


Directed by: Robert Wiene

Written by: Hans Janowitz & Carl Mayer


Werner Krauss .... Dr. Caligari
Conrad Veidt .... Cesare
Friedrich Feher .... Francis
Lil Dagover .... Jane
Hans Heinrich von Twardowski .... Alan
Rudolf Lettinger .... Dr. Olson

Release Dates: Theatrical: February 27, 1920 (Germany); February 21, 1921 (Sweden); March 19, 1921 (USA)



Dr. Caligari (Werner Krauss) enters a carnival as he hypnotizes his assistant Cesare (Conrad Veidt) to create murders as he was once an asylum director for him" to "Dr. Caligari enters a carnival as he hypnotizes his assistant Cesare to murder for him."


The film starts off with a mysterious type of people having a discussion and then we spot a mysterious looking woman named Jane walking by them mysteriously and not seeming like herself which catches your attention and a nice draw in to the story that will unravel when we watch on what is to be told here.
The environment looks rather entertaining with the crowd of people being excited at a carnival which was nicely done as well as the mysterious character Dr. Caligari is enterin the carnival and trying to get his show going as well as good close up shots on him looking a bit crazy as well as having arguments with some of the people working there which adds a nice touch to the story knowing that something good won't turn out of this.
A nice moment when he opens up what seems to be a coffin and we spot the tall like figure Cesare and nice close up shots on his eyes opening wide which for sure leaves a nice horrific impression to the story back in the days as well as him telling one of the audiences that he's going to die that night which also is a perfect touch and feel to the story.
A nice shot on a shadowy type of figure killing a victim as this looked well done back in the days. There's also a moment when someone crying out on who the killer is in the village but very few people are revealed as the locals and could've looked more suspenseful if there was a bigger crowd.
Some good suspenseful moments that revealed Francis when he is trying to figure out some unsolved mysteries as well as him getting riled up with the others and good suspenseful moments on the police putting him in a straight jacket which looked energised while watching all of the madness here.
Another real effective moment is when we spot Dr. Caligari opening his coffin to feed Cesare which seems to look pretty twisted and the going on's here as well later on when he tells other to awaken him as it leaves a chill to see what is going to happen later on.
Perfect moments involving Dr. Caligari leading Jane to find her father and then bringing her to Cesare attacking her which looked perfectly intense and in a good horrifying fashion along with good close up shots within all of this.
A nicely focused moment when Francis tries to convince Jane to marry him but she is not quite the same at all as this draws your attention as to what Dr. Caligari has done to her.
Ah yes. The days when films were silent before they invented volume and just had music overdubbed with words when a person spoke.
Bottom line is that this film was very influential and also inspired Rob Zombie's video "Living Dead Girl". Also it seems to be a beginning for future old fashioned monster flicks like Frankenstein and Dracula. The film nowadays won't be considered scary of course and I found it tough to watch all the way through as I'm not a fan of silent films since it was way before my time but it looked interesting regardless.

With a silent film it's tough to tell people's acting skills but their presences in a silent film but I will do my best here. Werner Krauss (Dr. Caligari) was marvellous portraying a madman as he shows a good vicious and ferocious expression within whatever he does and is a total ball of energy as well as coming across as believeably menacing within his blocking too. He had the perfect looks for all of this as well.
Conrad Veidt (Cesare) did look intimidating as his assistant in which he shows a perfect paranoid and wide eyed expressionless expressions coming across as a perfect and convincing type of horror character and monster too. Does well with his slow motion appearance along with doing a great job by acting menacing while attacking someone in which he bring out a great force with his violent and powerful attitude. Yes he stood out terrifically.
Friedrich Feher (Francis) also brought out some good enegy and charisma with his anxious behavior as he lets it all out along with acting perfectly aggressive and bringing out a good near like madness with his violent actions. Shows perfect hyperactive expressions too. He also does a good job by getting in someone's face or making an appearance while trying to stress something which also shows off nicely here.
Lil Dagover (Jane) also seemed to look good in the film too as she shows off a nice innocence to her part as well as coming across as mellow too. She was a good drawing card to the horror story especially when she is attacked as she shows great fearful and intense expressions. Also looked good like she was in a trance later on almost coming across as a perfect zombie or someone whom is not all there.

Alfredo Antonini was marvellous with his work in this having a perfect strong classical orchestral feel to everything in which we hear alot of flute playing for some of the soft moments as well as alot of suspenseful soundings too as well as good trombone playing and deep drum rollings to go along with this. Plus we spot some nice harp playing as well as bass violin plucking to top it all off standing out superbly well. Yes this is what made the story sound good having the old fashioned horror music or any kind of old fashioned flick with showing suspense into it as the composer knew what he was doing terrifically.

Dr. Caligari: I must know everything. I must penetrate the heart of his secret! I must become Caligari!

[first lines]
Man in garden: Spirits surround us on every side ... they have driven me from hearth and home, from wife and child.

Francis: You fools, this man is plotting our doom! We die at dawn! He is Caligari!