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The Cabinet Of Dr. Caligari Blu-ray Review

The Cabinet of Dr. Caligari Blu-ray

The German silent film classic “The Cabinet of Dr. Caligari” makes its way to Blu-ray at long last.

“The Cabinet of Dr. Caligari” begins with a young man (Francis) telling the story of he and his soon to be bride (Jane) to an older fellow. The story then flashes back to past events that unfolded in the village of Holstenwall. In this time period, we meet Francis and his friend Alan who are both vying for the affection of Jane. The two pals attend a traveling carnival together and, while there, the two take in a show involving a fortune telling sleepwalker (Cesare) put on by the creepy Dr. Caligari. The brave Alan dares to ask Cesare how long he will live and Cesare replies simply replies “Until dawn.” As it turns out, Cesare’s statement proves to be prophetic and Alan perishes at the estimated time period. Devastated by his friend’s untimely demise, Francis vows to find out who murdered his friend. Will Francis discover who is responsible? Will the murderer strike again? Is anyone actual dead or is something else going on entirely?

In the film buff community, “The Cabinet of Dr. Caligari” is a highly regarded piece of cinema and it’s not hard to see why. This highly influential German Expressionist film was ahead of its time in so many ways. From the fact that this 1920 classic helped spawn the horror genre to the groundbreaking twist ending, ‘Caligari’ was nothing short of a pioneering film.

One of the film’s most profound contributions to cinema, however, is the striking visuals. The surreal, crooked, and dreamlike sets and costumes coupled with the moody and atmospheric visuals by director Robert Wiene and cinematographer Willy Hameister are a visual feast to behold. It’s an incredible collaborative effort by the entire production crew to be sure.


Presentation: 1.33:1 1080p. How does it look? The new 4K Restoration adds so much more depth and clarity to the film print. Granted, there are several print flaws still present (namely lines), but that can be overlooked given the film’s age.

Audio Tracks: Freiburg and DJ Spooky DTS-HD MA 2.0 Scores. How do they sound? Freiburg’s traditional silent film score is the clear victor here as DJ Spooky’s track simply does not film a silent film.

* A 3 page booklet essay by film historian Kristin Thompson.
* An image gallery.
* Trailers for “The Cabinet of Dr. Caligari,” “Metropolis,” “Nosferatu,” and “Die Nibelungen.”
* 2 before and after restoration demonstrations.
* “Caligari: How Horror Came To The Cinema”- The centerpiece of the extra features is this 52 minute German documentary that talks about the time period in Germany, the film’s influence on cinema, and much more.


December 2, 2014 - Posted by | Blu-Ray review |

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