Friday, October 24, 2014

The Cabinet of Dr. Caligari (on DVD)

The Cabinet of Dr. Caligari
[DVD Cabinet]

A classic, 1920, German silent film with a twist ending I didn't anticipate. Francis tells the story of him and his friend, Alan, who are both in love with Jane. The two men visit a carnival and see the sideshow of Dr. Caligari who claims that his somnambulist, Cesare (played by Conrad Veidt - remember the German Major in Casablanca?) can answer questions about the future due to his being constantly asleep. Alan jokingly asks when he will die, and Cesare answers, "at dawn." And now we're worried because a serial killer is currently at work. Francis and Jane investigate Dr. Caligari and Cesare, learning that Caligari is actually the director of the local insane asylum. Jane is kidnapped, a wild chase ensues, and the story returns to the present where we get the surprise ending. And there's a reason for the weird, expressionist background. The film runs only 75 min but is excellent entertainment. I first saw this movie in the late 1970s or early 1980s when it was available on VHS (and yes, I still have the tape). After my first viewing and knowing the ending I rewatched it immediately (like we all did after first seeing The Sixth Sense). Ignore the remakes, this original is the only way to go. And you'll learn what a somnambulist is! -- recommended by Charlotte K. - Bennett Martin Public Library [ see Charlotte's Reviewer Profile and more of her reviews ]

[ Internet Movie Database entry for this film ] | [ Wikipedia page for this film ]

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