Wednesday, 1 October 2014

The Cabinet of Dr Caligari- Film Review

'The Cabinet of Dr Caligari' is a German silent horror movie released in 1920. The story starts with a young man called Francis who tells his story to an old man. He tells him how he made it his goal to find the murderer of his closest friend. As a murderer looms in the German Village of Holstenwall, Francis is lead to believe that the killings are connected to Dr Caligari and his companion Cesare, a somnambulist. Francis had already lost his friend and was desperate to find the killer before it targets anyone else, especially his love, Jane. The story converges on Dr Caligari as his plans to murder are exposed through his diary, when all along the story of Holstenwall's killings are revealed as the mad delusions haunting Francis. He was a mentally ill man who was convinced that Caligari is a murderer, when really he was a doctor for the mental asylum that houses Francis, Jane and Cesare as patients.

This film is an in depth vision into psychological well being, as it put's the audience in the perspective of Francis until the last scene. Every aspect of the film itself connects to the mental state of Francis' mind. The design of the set and architecture of the buildings are warped and distorted into strange shapes. It's to reflect the distorted vision that Francis holds, and helps the audience see through his eyes. The set on changes at the end of the film, when it becomes neat and symmetrical in the asylum. This is to symbolize the inanity of Francis being lifted away from the eyes of the audience and showing the true form of the story.

I think that this film is largely influenced by the country and time it was made in. It's post World War in a country plagued with poverty. The survivors of the War suffered from physical and mental disabilities, and in my opinion Caligari interprets the mental state and trauma Germany was suffering at the time by using Francis as an example of mental illness. And like 'A Trip to the Moon,' this film is an escape from reality for the audience of the 1920s.           


  1. Hi Cat - a suggestion about your blog. It would be better if you use the image for the header and use a plain background just because you want your work to stand out and the text to be easy to read :)

  2. I have been wondering if the text was difficult to read, I went over the colours again to check. I think I might do a new background that is more simple with colour and tone so the text stands out. I do like having an image for the background though. But I think I'll rethink this one :)

  3. Maybe just keep any images/pattern in the background on the header and sides and then just keep a plain solid colour for the centre part. That's what I did for mine anyway:

  4. Hi Cat,

    Yep - I love the fact you're thinking about your blog and bringing it much more under your control, but your text is fighting with your background now.