Tuesday, March 11, 2014


In the beginning...She Blinded Me With Silents (Post 5 of 12)

The Cabinet of Dr. Caligari


The alliteration of those names helped me to remember them all for my History of Film class I took in the 80's when we went over silent films, expressionism and The Cabinet of Dr. Caligari in particular. But what are the importance of these names? Herman Warm designed the delightfully expressionistic sets for the movie. Rohrig and Weinmann painted these sets. And Robert Weine was the director of this tale of madness...exploitation...and SONAMBULISM!!

But the film offers more than it's unusual design. It is the forerunner of films that try to throw the viewer narrative curve balls. Is the story we think we are seeing, the real story? Is the narrator reliable? Is the one we see as evil, really good? Or is the narrator the only one who sees that he isn't good? What are the hints that what we are seeing isn't what we may think it is at first?

I think of Caligari when I see films like A Beautiful Mind, The Sixth Sense and most recently Shutter Island (I'm sure Martin Scorcese is a student of Caligari). Even if you've seen variations on the themes of Caligari done many times since, any student of film should see the original. 

And don't forget those names...Warm...Rohrig...Weinmann...Weine...Warm...Rohrig...Weinmann...Weine...I am calling you...I am your master...awaken for a moment from your dark night!

1 comment:

  1. Oh yes, a fantastic film that introduced so many elements to film. Some of the novelties of this film were only redicovered many decades later.