The Cabinet of Dr. Caligari

Title: Das Cabinet des Dr. Caligari
Year: 1920
Director: Robert Wiene
Writer: Hans Janowitz & Carl Mayer
Starring: Werner Krauss, Conrad Veidt, Friedrich Feher, Lil Dagover
Music: Timothy Brock (for video release)
Distinctions: formerly on IMDb’s Top 250
Synopsis: a somnambulist wakes up — oh, the horror!
How I saw it: on video (rented from Netflix), September 2008
Subjective Rating: 4/10 (Eh).
Objective Rating: 4/10 (gets points for pacing, cinematography, special effects/design and music) c. 2.4/4 (Okay).

Meh. Great visuals, but everything else is very badly done. I can see how it’s of historical importance, but it’s not something you can watch with modern standards. I’m not sure if the music is original or some sort of restoration, but it’s very good.


2 Responses to The Cabinet of Dr. Caligari

  1. Joy Redencach says:

    What do you expect?! It was made in 1919, released in 1920/21. It was made on a very tight and low budget considering germany had just been through a war. They used props and stage sets because they couldn’t film on location and electricity was scarce. If you can say that it was done badly than you can’t see how it’s of historical importance!! I truly believe you take for granted what the early film industry has done for the movies YOU watch today!!!

    • Daniel says:

      A film does not have to be enjoyable to me to be historically important. Importance does not equal quality. That said, I never said this is a bad movie. I said “it’s not something you can watch with modern standards,” and that the aspects other than the visuals (which are great) are badly done. The writing and the acting, for instance, are not good.

      Of course I take for granted what the early film industry has done. I’m not a historian; I’m not a critic; I’m not a film student; I’m not a filmmaker. I’m not interested in a film’s influence, and such things are irrelevant to the point of this blog. A film’s value to me is purely the enjoyment I get from watching it. And if I don’t enjoy it, so what? It’s not as if its contribution will be erased if I don’t like it.

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