- Rated: Not Rated
- Run Time: 1 hours, 22 minutes
- Video: Black & White
- Released: June 4, 2002
- Originally Released: 1919
- Label: Alpha Video
- Encoding: Region 1 (USA & Canada)
- Packaging: Keep Case
- Aspect Ratio: Full Frame - 1.33
Performers, Cast and Crew:
Memorable Quotes and Dialog:
"See the sleepwalker, floating down the street, ripped from some nightmare! A street of misshapen houses with brooding windows, streaked by dagger strokes of light and darkened by blots of shadow! You will immediately feel the terror in the movements of that floating grotesque!"
- from the American advertising campaign for "Caligari".
Entertainment Weekly - 05/31/1996
"...Exhibit A for the whole German Expressionist movement....A classic." -- Rating: A
USA Today - 05/24/1996
"...This is an impressive color-tinted rendering of the German silent classic..."
Total Film - 12/01/2000
"...One of the first -- and still one of the greatest -- psychological horror movies..."
Sight and Sound - 04/01/2001
"...[An] eerie classic..."
Description by OLDIES.com:
This silent masterpiece has been called the first "cult" movie and the first horror film of genuine quality and substance. A young student, Francis, (Freidrich Feher) encounters evil magician, Dr. Caligari (Werner Kraus), at a county fair. Caligari's "act" consists of waking a frightening somnambulist, Cesare, from the coffin where, it is claimed, he has lain asleep for years. When Francis' best friend is murdered and a killing spree erupts in the small village, he suspects that Caligari is using Cesare to commit the ghastly crimes. When Cesare is sent to murder the student's fiance, Joan (Lil Dagover), he is so smitten with her beauty that he abducts her instead. Francis tracks Caligari to a nearby insane asylum where he is horrified to learn that the doctor is not an inmate but the director of the institution! The surprise ending is as shocking and perplexing today as it was when originally released.
Set designer Hermann Warm enlisted Walter Reimann and Walter Roehrig, fellow members of Berlin's expressionist Der Sturm group, to act as art directors. They created the unprecedented look of the sets, costumes and makeup to reflect the mind of a madman. The Cabinet Of Dr. Caligari demonstrated to all future filmakers that psychological horror could equal or exceed the effects of physical shocks. This thought-provoking film is a must-see for all who appreciate great movies.
In this silent, classic example of early German expressionism, this cinematic landmark relates the stylized tale of a Dr. Caligari, a fairground showman who hypnotizes an innocent villager--turning him into a sleepwalking "zombie"--and compels him to carry out fiendish murders. Inarguably a landmark in world cinema, Robert Weine's one-of-a-kind thriller features fantastical, heavily stylized sets, antirealist acting, and evocative subjective camerawork.
Cult Film |
Mad Doctor |
Theatrical Release |
- A silent film.
- Producer Erich Pommer originally hired Fritz Lang to direct, but when Lang's busy schedule kept him from working on the film he was replaced by Robert Wiene. Pommer is responsible for writing the film's famous surprise ending.
- The film's production cost is estimated at under $20,000.