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The Cabinet of Dr. Caligari (1920)

Das Cabinet des Dr. Caligari (original title)
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Hypnotist Dr. Caligari uses a somnambulist, Cesare, to commit murders.

Director:

Robert Wiene
Reviews
1 nomination. See more awards »

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Cast

Complete credited cast:
Werner Krauss ... Dr. Caligari
Conrad Veidt ... Cesare
Friedrich Feher ... Francis (as Friedrich Fehér)
Lil Dagover ... Jane Olsen
Hans Heinrich von Twardowski ... Alan (as Hans Heinrich v. Twardowski)
Rudolf Lettinger Rudolf Lettinger ... Dr. Olsen
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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:

Not Rated | See all certifications »

Parents Guide:

View content advisory »
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Details

Country:

Germany

Language:

None

Release Date:

19 March 1921 (USA) See more »

Also Known As:

The Cabinet of Dr. Caligari See more »

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Box Office

Budget:

$18,000 (estimated)
See more on IMDbPro »

Company Credits

Production Co:

Decla-Bioscop AG See more »
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Technical Specs

Runtime:

| (video) | (DVD)

Sound Mix:

Silent

Color:

Black and White (tinted)

Aspect Ratio:

1.33 : 1
See full technical specs »
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Did You Know?

Trivia

The earliest German film included among the "1001 Movies You Must See Before You Die", edited by Steven Schneider. See more »

Goofs

The entry in the book "Im jahre 1703 ..." is translated in subtitles (on the blu-ray edition) as "In the year 1783,...". 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 »

Alternate Versions

USA laserdisc reissue restores the original hand-drawn title cards that have been missing from every known print of the film since 1923. When first released on video in the United States, film was in black-and-white, and played back many scenes at double speed and featured different music. Although no scenes were cut out, the running time was reduced to only 51 minutes. The restored version restores the colour-tinting, restores the original title cards, and plays the film back at regular speed, returning the film to its original 69-minute running time. See more »

Connections

Referenced in Killer Klowns from Outer Space (1988) See more »

Frequently Asked Questions

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User Reviews

 
messiah of the terror
15 May 2006 | by francisreidlightSee 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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