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The Cabinet of Dr. Caligari (1920)

Das Cabinet des Dr. Caligari (original title)
Unrated | | Fantasy, Horror, Mystery | 19 March 1921 (USA)
Hypnotist Dr. Caligari uses a somnambulist, Cesare, to commit murders.

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Cast

Complete credited cast:
...
...
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Francis (as Friedrich Fehér)
...
...
Alan (as Hans Heinrich v. Twardowski)
Rudolf Lettinger ...
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Storyline

Francis, a young man, recalls in his memory the horrible experiences he and his fiancée Jane recently went through. It is the annual fair in Holstenwall. Francis and his friend Alan visit The Cabinet of Dr. Caligari, an exhibit where the mysterious doctor shows the somnambulist Cesare, and awakens him for some moments from his death-like sleep. When Alan asks Cesare about his future, Cesare answers that he will die before dawn. The next morning Alan is found dead. Francis suspects Cesare of being the murderer, and starts spying on him and Dr. Caligari. The following night Cesare is going to stab Jane in her bed, but softens when he sees the beautiful woman, and instead of committing another murder, he abducts her. Jane's father awakens because of the noise, and he and some servants follow the fleeing Cesare. When Cesare cannot outrun his pursuers anymore, he gently places Jane down on the ground, and runs away. Francis and the police investigate the caravan of Dr. Caligari, but the ... Written by Maths Jesperson {maths.jesperson1@comhem.se}

Plot Summary | Plot Synopsis

Taglines:

You must become Caligari. See more »


Certificate:

Unrated | See all certifications »

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Release Date:

19 March 1921 (USA)  »

Also Known As:

The Cabinet of Dr. Caligari  »

Box Office

Budget:

$18,000 (estimated)
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Company Credits

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| (video) | (DVD)

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(tinted)

Aspect Ratio:

1.33 : 1
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Did You Know?

Trivia

Made before "horror" was a designated genre, this is sometimes cited as the first true horror film (although films with elements of the macabre were certainly made earlier). See more »

Goofs

There is an inconsistent positioning during the struggle on the bed between Cesare and Jane. See more »

Quotes

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

Connections

Referenced in The Preview Murder Mystery (1936) See more »

Frequently Asked Questions

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User Reviews

 
messiah of the terror
15 May 2006 | by (United Kingdom) – See all my reviews

The most important film in horror. Moody and shocking this chiller is the height of German Expressionist cinema and the prototype for whole genres in horror. Using violent contrasts of light and shadow, surreal settings and distorted camera angles to represent madness, chaos and psychosis, its influence is still seen even today in the likes of John Carpenter and the emerging actor and director Stephen Armourae, who has been also influenced by the film in his artwork and as the composer Stephen Armourae-Perry. Its twists towards the end put everyone from Hitchcock to the maker of 'The Village' into pale imitation. This film is now neglected by the public as it is a silent film. It really needs to be seen and appreciated more. Robert Wiene the director clearly inspired by the First World War transferred that shock and terror onto the screen with all its starkness. Hos purpose was to present moral ambiguity of the plot and action as a commentary on the paranoia, imbalance and uncertainty of post was Germany. And another parallel: not only has it influenced Stephen Armourae, he too is a hypnotist and recurring themes in his writings and plays are the moral ambiguities of insanity and culture, and German society of the twentieth century.


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