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The Cabinet of Dr. Caligari (Special Collector's Edition) (1921)

Werner Krauss , Conrad Veidt , Robert Wiene  |  Unrated |  DVD
4.3 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (146 customer reviews)

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Product Details

  • Actors: Werner Krauss, Conrad Veidt, Friedrich Feher, Lil Dagover, Hans Heinrich von Twardowski
  • Directors: Robert Wiene
  • Writers: Carl Mayer, Hans Janowitz
  • Producers: Erich Pommer, Rudolf Meinert
  • Format: Multiple Formats, Black & White, Color, NTSC, Silent
  • Language: English (Dolby Digital 2.0)
  • Dubbed: Japanese
  • Region: All Regions
  • Aspect Ratio: 1.33:1
  • Number of discs: 1
  • Rated: Unrated
  • Studio: Image Entertainment
  • DVD Release Date: October 15, 1997
  • Run Time: 67 minutes
  • Average Customer Review: 4.3 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (146 customer reviews)
  • ASIN: 6305075492
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #157,610 in Movies & TV (See Top 100 in Movies & TV)
  • Learn more about "The Cabinet of Dr. Caligari (Special Collector's Edition)" on IMDb

Special Features

  • and an excerpt from Genuine aka "Genuine: A Tale of a Vampire"

Editorial Reviews

A milestone of the silent film era and one of the first "art films" to gain international acclaim, this eerie German classic from 1919 remains the most prominent example of German expressionism in the emerging art of the cinema. Stylistically, the look of the film's painted sets--distorted perspectives, sharp angles, twisted architecture--was designed to reflect (or express) the splintered psychology of its title character, a sinister figure who uses a lanky somnambulist (Conrad Veidt) as a circus attraction. But when Caligari and his sleepwalker are suspected of murder, their novelty act is surrounded by more supernatural implications. With its mad-doctor scenario, striking visuals, and a haunting, zombie-like character at its center, Caligari was one of the first horror films to reach an international audience, sending shock waves through artistic circles and serving as a strong influence on the classic horror films of the 1920s, '30s, and beyond. It's a museum piece today, of interest more for its historical importance, but Caligari still casts a considerable spell. --Jeff Shannon

Product Description

This milestone film, known for its expressionistic sets and techniques, tells the strange tale of a sleepwalker under the spell of the mysterious and evil Dr. Caligari.

Customer Reviews

Most Helpful Customer Reviews
175 of 182 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Edition selection tips January 12, 2006
I'm not going to spend time raving about the movie, because I'm going to assume that if you've got this far you already know how wonderful it is. What I think could be far more useful (as this is an area where I have been burned) is some comparison between the two DVD editions I know of.

I have copies of both the Kino Video edition and the Image Entertainment edition. My preference is for Image Entertainment for the following reasons:

(1) The print seems slightly cleaner (and most helpfully, the DVD packaging warns you about the horizontal line across the top of some scenes which is a defect on the original film)

(2) The intertitles on Image use the correct expressionistic style as per the 1920 release. from what I recall, Kino's are the 'normalised' printed intertitles from 1923.

(3) The Kino version has possibly the most insensitive layer transition location I have ever come across. For reasons of their own Kino put an intertitle before the final sequence in the asylum, and it would have been a natural place for a layer transition. Instead they put it a few seconds into the final sequence (and only a couple of minutes before the end of the film!). Image has no layer transition.

(4) Both scores on the Kino version are dreadful. One consists of strange electronic noises, while the 'orchestral' one is pretty inappropriate. Instead Image chose a very nice specially composed score by Timothy Brock which is a remarkably effective pastiche in the style of Alban Berg (very appropriate for an expressionist film).

(5) Image has a commentary track; it's not clear that Kino does (I can't remember, but certainly it isn't mentioned in the blurb on the back).
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208 of 218 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars a note to confused amazon users... January 23, 2005
Amazon does NOT differentiate its reviews of titles (be it book/DVD's/vhs etc) by this or that edition by any of the many companies that release your review of the cheapy public domain Alpha dvd(to name just one of the several CRAP distributors of old movies)and the words you write about the restored fine print Kino International(to name one of the very excellent distributors of old movies)will be all on the same page, WHATEVER version you have selected!!

Having said that , my review is of the KINO dvd release , a very fine one as this company does not distribute anything less(you pay more, but if you know anything about silent and classic movies it will be no secret to you that if you pay peanuts that is exactly what you will get....) is however disconserting to see that even the best available dvd release still hasn't been cleaned up to the degree that other classic silent masterpieces have..surely with todays technology a digital "hoovering" of this film is not too much to ask.

Wonderful film of course, but you know that otherwise you wouldn't even be reading these reviews, and the KINO version is , so far, the best you can get for your money.
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100 of 104 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Prime example of German Expressionism August 11, 2000
I had watched many poorly-made VHS tapes of this film and was very happy a restored version came out on video. There's probably no better way to see this film. This visual stunning silent German film tells the story of a mad doctor who trains a sleepwalker to kill people in order to study the effects of somnambulism. Filled with images resembling one's nightmare (or the mind state of a mentally-ill) -- distorted views, deformed spaces, bizarre lights and shadows -- this film in 1919 helped usher in a new era of German Expressionism, a period that produced such classics as The Last Laugh, Nosferatu, and Metropolis.

The 1997 DVD edition from Image Entertainment ( ) is identical in content to the laserdisc from Image a few years ago, with the exception that the LD included a detailed letter explaining why there is a faint horizontal line near the top of the screen in certain scenes (it's a misplaced "frame line" that is supposed to mark the edge of a frame). The DVD merely mentions on the jacket case that this is a "defect" on the film negative. Like the LD, this DVD also presents the film in a "windowbox", ensuring every frame can be seen in full.

The audio commentary on the alternate sound track is thoughtful and insightful, but the commentator reiterates much of what appears on the jacket essay. Other extras include a few comtemporary photographs related to the film, and a short silent film from the Expressionist era.
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76 of 82 people found the following review helpful
1.0 out of 5 stars KEEP AWAY!! September 14, 2002
Format:DVD|Verified Purchase
This is one of my favorite films of all time, and if must own it (yes, you must own it), DON'T get this edition -- get the Image Entertainment one (the other, more expensive edition). It's worth the extra 10 or so dollars. And let me tell you why:
1. The Image edition has the original film-stock color tinting, an important creative device and a big part of what makes this such a beautiful film (especially for its time), this version does not.
2. The Image edition is beautifully transfered from a very nice print of the film, you can see everything as it was intended to be seen. I'm sure this is how the film looked when it was originally released. This edition is a terrible transfer from an already terrible print.
3. The Image edition has better music.
4. The Image edition has better intertitles.
5. The Image edition has an aditional audio commentary.
To sum it up, the Image edition isn't a piece of garbage, and it does this masterpiece justice. Don't waste your time with this edition. Sell your shoes if you can't afford the extra scratch, watching this DVD is painful. Trust me.
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Most Recent Customer Reviews
4.0 out of 5 stars Good for its time
For a silent is pretty good considering its time. But I had to watch this for a class as a requirement
Published 6 days ago by Scott
5.0 out of 5 stars I love it
ahead of it's time
Published 10 days ago by Carissa
5.0 out of 5 stars Still as chilling today as it was back in it's day
A great Silent German-Expressionist film which is chilling and was the first film to feature a twist ending. Read more
Published 14 days ago by anonymous rogue
4.0 out of 5 stars Nice restoration of a film classic
Nicely restored film. I know that an earlier customer noted that the box of the disc doesn't mention the line running across the upper part of the film (like on the Image edition)... Read more
Published 25 days ago by K. Poling
5.0 out of 5 stars Must-see Movie
This is my favorite silent film ever. The first horror movie, the first twist ending, I was riveted from start to finish! Read more
Published 26 days ago by LaurieL
5.0 out of 5 stars One of the greatest movies of all time.
Brilliant! German expressionist cinema at its best.
Published 1 month ago by Robert
4.0 out of 5 stars Surrealism Redux
This is an updated and restored version of one of the movies central to German Surrealism during the period between WW1and WW2 (or the first and second acts of the "Great... Read more
Published 1 month ago by R. Pearce
5.0 out of 5 stars New Kino blu/dvd releases on horizon! (Nov '14)
Just learned that U.S. blu (and corresponding dvd) release is on the way (11/18/14), and saw trailer for restore: looks to be a superb release! Read more
Published 1 month ago by Jrum C.
5.0 out of 5 stars Psychologically terrifying
The Music is fantastic and really keeps your skin creeping. It really is a scary movie. The camera angles make it seem as though you really are in the mind of someone else. Read more
Published 3 months ago by Marco Berry
2.0 out of 5 stars A great film but floundering edition
Overall the movie was still visually stunning, but had many imperfections. The two that bothered me the most were tint and score of the film. Read more
Published 4 months ago by bookworm
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