Archive for February 24th, 2010

by Allan Fish

(Germany 1919 75m) DVD1/2

Aka. Das Kabinet des Dr Caligari

Awake for a moment from your dark night

p  Erich Pommer  d  Robert Wiene  w  Carl Meyer, Hans Janowitz  ph  Willy Hameister  art  Hermann Warm, Walter Röhrig, Walter Reimann  cos  Walter Reimann

Werner Krauss (Caligari), Conrad Veidt (César the Somnambulist), Lil Dagover (Jane), Friedrich Feher (Francis), Hans Von Twardowski (Alan), Rudolf Klein-Rogge (criminal),

So was not only the somnambulist awoken by his master, but German cinema in general from its wartime malaise.  Caligari is a film which has gone through a rollercoaster ride of critical approval, long venerated as the first masterpiece of the seventh art’s German expressionistic era and as a milestone in the development of cinematic horror, it went through a period during the eighties and nineties where it was, if not derided, then certainly attacked as dated, faded and even archaic.  Not only were such attacks unjustified, they were not the fault of the film.  For too long it was only available in a butchered 45 minute print of second generation degenerate quality (such was it released in the UK by Redemption video) and it wasn’t until the late nineties and the advent of DVD that a proper reconstruction and restoration showcased the film as, if still a little faded (wouldn’t you be after over eighty years?), a classic of cinema.  (more…)

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