In what is fantastic news for fans of classic cinema, the German Expressionist silent film “The Cabinet of Dr. Caligari” has been restored and will get a new release. The Masters of Cinema series just released a new trailer for the 4K restoration of “The Cabinet of Dr. Caligari,” which the trailer indicates will be out in August. There will also be a new Blu-ray with the restored edition included released in September. With the new restored version of “The Cabinet of Dr. Caligari” coming out, here is a look at the biggest moments from the era of German Expressionism cinema.
“The Cabinet of Dr. Caligari”
“The Cabinet of Dr. Caligari” is a horror film that focuses on the evil Dr. Caligari, a traveling carnival hypnotist who controls the somnambulist Cesare to the delight of the marks. However, when people start dying in the town, is it Cesare or Caligari who is to blame? The movie is directed by Robert Wiene, a director who fled Germany when Hitler’s Nazi party took power. Made in 1920, “The Cabinet of Dr. Caligari” was actually one of the first true horror movies in cinema history, although there were minor short film efforts at horror before, including an early attempt at “Frankenstein” and work with the character of the Golem.
Two years later, one of the most famous of the German Expressionist films came out in cinemas in “Nosferatu.” Directed by F.W. Murnau, this was actually the first adaptation of the Bram Stoker novel “Dracula” to hit the big movie screen. However, the Stoker estate refused to license it out, so Murnau changed the names in the story and made the movie anyway. Stoker’s heirs sued and a judge ordered that all copies be destroyed. Luckily, one survived and it lives on today as one of horror’s true early masterpieces. The making of was fictionalized in the great modern day vampire movie “Shadow of the Vampire.”
In 1927, one of the most groundbreaking of the German Expressionist films was released. “Metropolis” was not a horror movie, but was instead a dystopian sci-fi movie. The movie was directed by Fritz Lang, who left Germany a few years later and made a number of talkie films that were also true masterpieces. The film tells the story of a future where class separation has become impossible to cross until the day that the city ruler’s son sets out to make changes.