I confess. I’ve only seen The Cabinet of Dr. Caligari, but I love that movie. I wish we made movies more in the style of how that one was executed. But perhaps I’m just letting my love of art bleed over into an industry that only considers a small element of itself to be artsy. But I digress.
The Cabinet of Dr. Caligari is a German silent film released in 1920, directed by Robert Wiene and cinematography by Willy Hameister. It’s infamous in its visual style and is considered to be an originator of the suspense/horror genre and the plot twist. The story’s plot revolves around a bewildering man by the name of Dr. Caligari and his sideshow attraction, a young man named Cesare who happens to be a somnambulist and can tell the future at his master’s prompting. Our protagonist, Francis, and his friend, Alan, along with their mutual love interest, Jane, visit the circus and witness Cesare’s soothsaying firsthand. At the same time that Dr. Caligari shows up in town with the circus, a series of murders begin to take place, leaving the police baffled. What follows is an entertaining and suspenseful chase for the murderer, personal loss, and a twisting narrative of what is reality.
Unfortunately, in order for me to talk about what I really love about this movie and my interpretations, I will be divulging spoilers. I’ll admit, on the surface the movie seems to be a bit cheesy (and the melodramatic acting style doesn’t help), but after watching the film, it will hopefully steal your heart too.