#1 The Cabinet of Dr. Caligari

Watched: July 30 2016

Director: Robert Wiene

Starring: Werner Krauss, Conrad Veidt, Friedrich Feher, Lil Dagover

Year: 1920

Runtime: 1h 18min

Liquids consumed: 1 cider each

 

Das-Cabinet-des-Dr-Caligari-poster

Source

This was a rewatch for us, of a classic German Expressionist horror film, and as it’s from 1920 it is readily available on Youtube. The protagonist tells the story of horrible events that transpired during his and his fiancé’s dealings with Dr. Caligari and his somnambulist (aka sleepwalker) Cesare.

The make-up is excellently creepy and so are the costumes (good shoes, lady!). However, the biggest visual voice is the set. It is mostly painted canvas, and the lines, angles and sizes are all distorted, adding to the nightmarish quality of the film in general.

There is also some very good use of shadows, which is something we’ll see again in the next film, Nosferatu, if memory serves. And, as always, there are fragile women and swooning.

For a Norwegian viewer, being exposed to German is fun! As we both did French in school, our German has limited itself to such phrases as “Was ist das?” and “Ich bin ein wiener schnitzel,” which are not very useful. But watching this film in the original language confirmed the similarities between Norwegian and German, and we can now add to our German vocabulary such words as “somnambuler” which is sure to come in handy!

Despite this being a silent film, it is not inaccessible nor does it demand too much of the viewer. It shares many qualities with “modern” horror films, and it is a good example of great storytelling. It is entertaining, creepy, beautiful and grotesque, with a disturbing, eerie atmosphere throughout. All in all, we thoroughly recommend it!

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About this Blog

Recently, director Edgar Wright posted a list of his 1000 favourite films. As massive fans of Wright, my sister and I (somewhat drunkenly) decided to work our way through the list (’cause we have nothing better to dooooo). So we have decided to dedicate some time between actual work, reading books and playing Pokémon Go (it’s highly addictive!) to this project.

We will attempt to watch them in chronological order and document our filmatic journey in this blog. (Note that we are not film critics or professionals in any way! We just love films.)

Our aim is to post at least two films a week, but when winter creeps in over Norway (usually early September), there may be more frequent updates as there is no way of doing anything outside anyway.

In advance, we would like to thank YouTube, Netflix, our local library and my personal DVD collection for providing the films (I actually already owned 84 of the films on the list, which may not be that much considering there are 1000 films to get through, but as my collection consists of less than 500 films, I am quite pleased that 84 of them made the list).

And finally, we would like to extend our gratitude to the awesome Edgar Wright for making the list (thus giving us purpose for the next four years or so), and of course for making kick-ass films, all of which would feature high up on our personal top 1000 lists!