Film 192 in the “1001 Films to See Before You Die” challenge is 1920’s “Das Cabinet des Dr. Caligari”. Or as it’s known in English, “The Cabinet of Dr Caligari”. This Robert Wiene silent horror film is about an insane hypnotist who uses a somnambulist to commit murders. Quite honestly, nothing really happens in this film unless you’re really into seeing fat old men wandering around. That ending… seriously! Dr Caligari finds someone, Francis, who has been running around like a chicken without it’s head screaming “murder” only for Dr Caligari to say Francis is Dr Caligari. Hold up! A – That is clearly bullshit because we know Francis is the doctor. Why? Because Dr Caligari gave Francis his business card which clearly says “Dr Caligari” on it! B – That was the ending! No explanation to why he thinks Francis is the doctor. Nothing! Just Dr Caligari taking off his glasses, look up and the film fades to black. Another thing that isn’t explained is Cesare somehow becoming a fortune teller after waking up for the first time in 25 years. Was he a fortune teller before he was in a coma-like state? Where is the explanation throughout this? There’s lots of reading on screen but all it tells you is random words like “night”. The picture quality is so dark you can barely see anything. And you can clearly tell that the wrinkles on Dr Caligari are drawn/painted on. Also, who gets black lines for wrinkles? Overall, a terrible movie that doesn’t hold well today after it’s original release in 1920. In 2008, critic David Thomson had this to say about the film, “Wiene was prepared to treat costume like decor, and he used nearly impasto makeup to suggest ghostly spirit.” Fun Fact of the Film – The sets for the movie were made out of paper, with the shadows painted on them. If you have seen this film then let me know what you thought of it in the comments. Here is what I had to say while watching 1920’s “Das Cabinet des Dr Caligari”.
Year – 1920
Director – Robert Wiene
Written by – Hans Janowitz, Carl Mayer
Staring – Werner Krauss, Conrad Veidt, Fredrich Feher
IMDb Rating – 8.1/10
Rating – WASTE OF TIME
Length – 51 min
Genre – Horror
Two men chat while sat in a field
A woman in white walks towards them and walks past them
We’re in Holstenwall in Hamburg
Dr Caligari walks towards the camera and the expression on his face saying “I’ve farted”
Now the characters are reading
Welcome to the fair… with ALL NEW SLIDESHOWS!!!!
Francis is dragged to the fair
Dr Caligari is also at the fair and says the town-clerk isn’t happy today
Someone sat on top of a log is writing on a desk
Those are clearly painted on wrinkles!
Did this film just go in “Fast-Forward” mode?
Dr Caligari wanders around the fair and does nothing of note
Lots of walking and wandering around
Dr Caligari has an ironing board and shows it off!
It’s actually a poster advertising a somnambulist
Cue the murders
The town-clerk is the first to be murdered
That’s now a drawing of a human on that poster! That looks more like a bottle opener
10 minutes in and we get the title of the film on screen… for one second
Time for Caligari’s show to start and he opens by opening Cesare’s coffin
After a while Cesare wakes up after 25 years
Cesare is now a fortune teller… somehow
One man asks him how long he will live for
Cesare says he will die tonight
There’s a reward to capture the murderer
Hello woman! Fancy having sex with two men? Yes? OK then
They leave and we are shown Dr Caligari wandering round his trailer
It’s night and the man who asked for his future to be told is killed… by a screwdriver to the eye?!
Two minutes of nothing has just happened
Francis is taken away and arrested by Dr Caligari
I fast forwarded quite a bit
Hold up… Dr Caligari says Francis is Dr Caligari – What the actual fuck?