Often sited as one of the greatest horror films of the silent era, The Cabinet of Dr. Caligari is a 1920 German movie and a prime example of German Expressionism. Written by first time screenwriters Hans Janowitz and Carl Mayer, the script is generally considered to feature the first twist ending in cinematic history. The main thrust of the story is presented in flashback in which a young man called Francis (Friedrich Fehér) recounts a series of terrible murders that took place in the small town of Holstenwall. His story speaks of a Dr. Caligari (Werner Krauss) who, at a local fair, unveils a fortune telling somnambulist (sleep-walker) whom he is able to control using hypnosis. When murder strikes the small town, the finger is pointed at Caligari and his attraction.
This movie is one which I’ve wanted to see for several years and heard nothing but good things about. It’s with regret then that I have to report that I was often bored by the story. Ending aside, I found it dull and was too often confused by developments. I’m certainly going to pin some of the blame on a poor quality DVD which I bought from the normally reputable Fopp but even seeing through this, I didn’t fall in love with the film. Despite my lack of enjoyment with regards to the plot, the film has much to offer even the most casual film buff.