Saturday, June 22, 2013

The Cabinet of Dr. Caligari

In the mid-seventies, the local PBS station ran THE CABINET OF DOCTOR CALIGARI. This coincided with the period where I was becoming serious about my film studies so, of course, I tuned in...and I was absolutely fascinated. Unlike anything I had ever seen, it seemed so ancient at the time, being from 1920, and yet so bizarrely modern with its German expressionistic sets and the bizarre, ballet-like performance of Conrad Veidt (later Major Strasser in CASABLANCA and arguably the visual influence for Batman's villain, The Joker, in THE MAN WHO LAUGHS). The plot is almost secondary to the way the film itself is made but it deals with the mysterious title doctor and the somnambulist in his act...and the people he predicts will die. Still striking today, particularly in restored tinted versions!

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