Review of The Cabinet of Dr. Caligari (1920)

Moving picture, 67 minutes

A strange man lures in fairgoers with the promise of seeing a somnambulist who may have supernatural knowledge. The main character, telling this story in the garden of an asylum, describes how his friend at the fair asked the wrong question: “How long shall I live?”

Possibly the first horror movie and the kick-off of German expressionism in film. Animation is far more suited to expressionism, and what could have been subversive horror—a comment on the butchery of misled youth in WW1—ends up shooting itself in the foot: Authority should not be questioned after all, apparently.

References here: The Sniper (1952).

moving picture fiction