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The Cabinet Of Dr. Caligari

As I mentioned numerous times last week, I got a chance to see Robert Wiene’s masterpiece The Cabinet Of Dr. Caligari in theaters with a live orchestra. It was an amazing experience and I just loved it.


The Cabinet Of Dr. Caligari is the story of the titular Caligari (played by Werner Krauss) and his somnambulist Cesare (Conrad Veidt). Caligari uses Cesare to murder people, like a clerk that gave him trouble and a fairgoer. He has Cesare go after a woman but things go wrong and she lives. The police chase after Caligari and see him go into an asylum… where he’s the director?


The Cabinet Of Dr. Caligari is an incredibly innovative movie. For starters, it all but invented the twist ending. It also created the “dutch angle” that has been used by many great movies (and also Battlefield Earth).


Probably my favorite thing about The Cabinet Of Dr. Caligari is the art direction. It is just… look at it!!




Seeing it with a live orchestra was just amazing. Not only did the orchestra provide an amazing score for the silent film but they acted it out too. The conductor muttered in German whenever Caligari spoke and they hired a group of local students to provide background noise for scenes with crowds. It’s one of my favorite moviegoing experiences and a unique one as well.