Cabinet Of Dr. Caligari (1919) 1919 NR

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(148) IMDb 8.1/10

The film that forged the dark, ominous cinematic movement known as German Expressionism--and influenced vanguard filmmakers for generations--regains its original, electrifying authority in this definitive presentation. Werner Krauss stars as a deranged hypnotist who spreads death through the countryside from a ramshackle traveling carnival. Before the naive eyes of the townspeople, he unveils the contents of his coffin-like cabinet: Cesare (Conrad Veidt), a spidery sleepwalker who obeys his every command. But at night, once the crowds have dispersed, Caligari lifts the lid on darker intentions, unleashing the dreadful Cesare to act upon his master's murderous whims and carnal desires. Director Robert Wiene and his designers combined techniques of painting, theatre and film to conjure a nightmare world of splintered reality, boldly creating a visual representation of insanity.

Starring:
Werner Krauss, Conard Veidt
Runtime:
1 hour 13 minutes

Cabinet Of Dr. Caligari (1919)

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Product Details

Genres Horror
Director Robert Wiene
Starring Werner Krauss, Conard Veidt
Supporting actors Friedrich Feher, Lil Dagover, Hans Heinrich von Twardowski, Rudolf Lettinger, Rudolf Klein-Rogge, Hans Lanser-Rudolf, Henri Peters-Arnolds, Ludwig Rex, Elsa Wagner
Studio Egami
MPAA rating NR (Not Rated)
Rental rights 7-day viewing period. Details
Purchase rights Stream instantly and download to 2 locations Details
Format Amazon Instant Video (streaming online video and digital download)

Customer Reviews

For one thing, this movie is way ahead of its time.
William Dorfer
It's a horror film, to be sure, but this truly ranks as one of the best movies I've ever watched.
Veronica Stroud
The plot of the film is no less amazing than the distorted sets for which it is famous.
H. Lim

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

177 of 184 people found the following review helpful By J. Porter on January 12, 2006
Format: DVD
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 By Dirk De Bruyne on January 23, 2005
Format: DVD
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 them....so 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....)...it 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 By keviny01 on August 11, 2000
Format: DVD
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 ( http://www.amazon.com/Cabinet-Caligari-Special-Collectors-Edition/dp/6305075492 ) 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 By Mike Conrado on 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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