- Release Date:1920-02-26
- Series:1920s and Before
Cabinet of Dr. Cligari is a 1920s German horror film, one that makes use of unusual, abstract designs and other techniques to tell its story. Hypnotist Dr. Caligari uses a somnambulist, Cesare, to commit murders.
As Francis sits on a bench with an older man who complains that spirits have driven him away from his family and home, a dazed woman named Jane (Lil Dagover) passes them. Francis explains she is his “fiancée” and that they have suffered a great ordeal. Most of the rest of the film is a flashback of Francis’s story, which takes place in Holstenwall, a shadowy village of twisted buildings and spiraling streets.
The Cabinet of Dr. Caligari may have been filmed in 1920, where technology was limited. But the film is proof positive that limits in technology do not limit creativity in storytelling.
The production design is absolutely amazing, fits the tone of the film and the theme of hypnosis, making you feel that not everything on screen is whole real or what it seems. It’s dark and twisted. Even the dialogue cards are specifically designed to fit the tone and style of the film. A beautiful piece of art from a troubled time in history.