top of page
Search

149. THE CABINET OF DR. CALIGARI, 1920

One of the most influential and visually thrilling films in history


Conrad Veidt carries Lil Dagover on the jagged rooftops Ludwig Rex, Rudolf Klein-Rogge in the classic German Expressionist Silent movie horror film "The Cabinet of Dr. Caligari"
"The Cabinet of Dr. Caligari"

How many movies can boast that they shifted the way the world perceived cinema, opened the door to new film genres, remain the seminal cinematic work of an artistic era, and look like no other film in history? The answer is only one, and it’s this week’s powerhouse, “The Cabinet of Dr. Caligari”. One of the most influential films ever made, this visual marvel was the film that awakened people to the fact that cinema could be art. It also led the way for the horror film genre, set the legwork for film noir, began the golden years of German cinema, and remains THE showpiece of Expressionist cinema. It’s also absolutely mesmerizing.


Werner Krauss is overjoyed with Conrad Veidt Ludwig Rex, Rudolf Klein-Rogge in the classic German Expressionist Silent movie horror film "The Cabinet of Dr. Caligari"
“The Cabinet of Dr. Caligari”

"The Cabinet of Dr. Caligari" quickly became recognized as one of the most important silent films ever made, and was voted the 12th Best Film of All-Time on the prestigious Brussels 12 list (the first universal film poll in history), the 16th Best Horror Film of All-Time by The Guardian, and as film clubs and arthouse film societies began popping-up globally in the 1920s, was constantly included in their repertoire. Its dazzling style has reliably made it required viewing for film students even today (I too first saw it in film school), and if you are truly interested in appreciating and learning about cinema, it is without a doubt a movie you need to know.


Friedrich Feher talks to an older man in the courtyard as Lil Dagover walks by Ludwig Rex, Rudolf Klein-Rogge in the classic German Expressionist Silent movie horror film "The Cabinet of Dr. Caligari"
"The Cabinet of Dr. Caligari"

“The Cabinet of Dr. Caligari” opens with two men conversing on a bench in a barren courtyard. The older man says to the younger: “There are spirits… they are all around us… They have driven me from hearth and home, from wife and child”. Suddenly a woman in white appears and walks by as if in a trance. The younger man explains, “That is my fiancée”, adding “What she and I have lived through is stranger still than what you have lived through… I will tell you about it”. The young man is "Francis", his fiancée is "Jane", and “The Cabinet of Dr. Caligari” is “Francis’” story told in flashback to the older man.


Hans Heinrich von Twardowski tells Friedrich Feher to join him at the carnival fair  in the classic German Expressionist Silent movie horror film "The Cabinet of Dr. Caligari"
"The Cabinet of Dr. Caligari"

It all begins when the annual fair arrives to “Francis’” small German hometown of Holstenwall. His good friend “Alan” convinces him to go with him to the fair, and one of the attractions they visit is the mysterious “Dr. Caligari” and his sleepwalking somnambulist, “Cesare”. In the show, “Caligari” awakens “Cesare” from his death-like trance to answer questions from the crowd, for he can see everything from the past to the future. “Alan” asks “Cesare”, “How long will I live?”, and “Cesare” answers, “’Til the break of dawn”. Strange and nefarious events unfold, and it quickly becomes clear that there's a darker truth lurking beneath “Caligari’s” act.


Werner Krauss, Conrad Veidt and Friedrich Feher Ludwig Rex, Rudolf Klein-Rogge in the classic German Expressionist Silent movie horror film "The Cabinet of Dr. Caligari"
"The Cabinet of Dr. Caligari"

This spellbinding, otherworldly silent film is a masterpiece of German Expressionism. An international shift towards the avant-garde in art, architecture, literature, and dance that began in Germany around 1905, Expressionism was a rebuttal to Impressionism, which highlighted the outward beauty of life, seeking instead to express the subjective inner world and all its harsh and dark emotions. A move away from realism, Expressionism used distortion, fantasy, and exaggeration to explore and express the trauma, devastation, insecurity, and fears felt before, during, and after World War I. Expressionism began to fade out in art in 1920 just as it hit the movies with “The Cabinet of Dr. Caligari”.


Conrad Veidt is a somnambulist with a knife  in the classic German Expressionist Silent movie horror film "The Cabinet of Dr. Caligari"
"The Cabinet of Dr. Caligari"

True to Expressionism, “The Cabinet of Dr. Caligari” looks inward at its characters (one of the first films to do so), depicting their psychological battles, both in their minds and the mental power and control they have over others. An example of both is “Caligari” himself. His obsessive academic quest to study somnambulists has turned him diabolical, and as a result, he has become the master of “Cesare”, completely controlling the sleepwalker’s every action. Everything from the performances to the lighting is exaggerated or twisted to expose inner demons.


Conrad Veidt walks among the trees in the classic German Expressionist Silent movie horror film "The Cabinet of Dr. Caligari"
"The Cabinet of Dr. Caligari"

What “The Cabinet of Dr. Caligari” is most famous for is its Expressionistic sets. A world of slanted buildings, skewed roofs, painted-on light and shadows, extra tall hats and chairs, leaning walls, irregular doors and windows, and jagged trees, its timelessly cutting-edge look creates its own universe of uneven, angular landscapes that on their own induce emotion. This can be witnessed by the cold and desolate opening courtyard which has the terrifying feeling of death all around it, or even “Francis’” hometown of Holstenwall, which is depicted by painting of a mountain packed with contorted homes and buildings. It's fantastical and slightly askew at the same time, giving a sense that something’s off kilter.


Werner Krauss with the town clerk in the classic German Expressionist Silent movie horror film "The Cabinet of Dr. Caligari"
"The Cabinet of Dr. Caligari"

And it doesn’t stop there. The entire film’s decor and settings reflect and illuminate the inner angst of its characters. Take the scene when “Caligari” goes to the town clerk to get a permit for his act. He has to walk through a hallway of walls that lean inwards, riddled with lines and angles, evoking impending chaos as “Caligari” tries to find his way. He is soon led to the clerk, perched high above everyone atop a stool in a claustrophobic room of more leaning walls, who keeps rudely shouting for him to “Wait!”. The visual alone proclaims the clerk’s power, domination, and control, as well as “Caligari’s” feeling disregarded and insignificant. The entire film bursts with eccentric settings such as this, making it an orgasmic Expressionist spectacle unlike any other film ever made. It is truly something to see.


Ludwig Rex, Rudolf Klein-Rogge is a murderer in the classic German Expressionist Silent movie horror film "The Cabinet of Dr. Caligari"
"The Cabinet of Dr. Caligari"

“The Cabinet of Dr. Caligari” was made at the perfect time. During and immediately after World War I, there was great resistance from countries outside Germany to allow German films to be shown. In 1920, things started changing and restrictions on the import of German films began easing. During the war, the US had become the largest moviemaking country in the world, and “The Cabinet of Dr. Caligari” was the second German film to be shown in the US after WWI (the first was Ernst Lubitsch's "Madame DuBarry”, which wasn’t easily identifiable as German), and its success and reputation eventually got it into other counties. The film became famous worldwide and made German cinema famous along with it.


Lil Dagover tries to read in the classic German Expressionist Silent movie horror film "The Cabinet of Dr. Caligari"
"The Cabinet of Dr. Caligari"

Thus began the Golden Age of German cinema, when Germany produced the most innovative and artistic films in the world (a great deal of which were Expressionistic), such as "Nosferatu", "Vampyr", "Faust", "The Blue Angel", "The Last Laugh", "The Man Who Laughs", "Waxworks", "Metropolis", and “M". You can read more about German Expressionist cinema in my posts on "Metropolis", “M", and "Sunrise: A Song of Two Humans” – just click on the film titles to open those posts. Germany's Golden Age began with “The Cabinet of Dr. Caligari” and ended with the rise of Adolf Hitler in 1933.


Werner Krauss stars as the mad evil doctor iin the classic German Expressionist Silent movie horror film "The Cabinet of Dr. Caligari"
"The Cabinet of Dr. Caligari"

Though purely Expressionist films would disappear by the 1930s, the influence of “The Cabinet of Dr. Caligari” is immeasurable. It solidified horror as a viable and profitable film genre, and its dark expressive style, controlling villain, and semi monster became mainstays of the genre. Variations of the iconic scene of “Cesare” carrying “Jane” along the rooftops in her nightgown can be seen in countless horror films through the years, and “Caligari” is certainly the prototype for the hundreds of gleefully diabolical villains that have graced movie screens ever since.


Shadows on a bedroom wall Hans Heinrich von Twardowski as Alan in the classic German Expressionist Silent movie horror film "The Cabinet of Dr. Caligari"
"The Cabinet of Dr. Caligari"

As film moved away from Expressionism, the stark shadows, extreme light and darkness, off-kilter angles, and inner psychological turmoil found in “The Cabinet of Dr. Caligari” and subsequent German Expressionist films became staples of what evolved into film noir in the 1940s and 1950s. And “The Cabinet of Dr. Caligari’s” influence hasn’t stopped there. It has inspired an array of film directors that include Alfred Hitchcock, Terry Gilliam, Guillermo del Toro, and Tim Burton for starters, and its emphasis on psychological tension, surrealism, and atmospheric storytelling continue to impact movies today.


Hans Heinrich von Twardowski , Lil Dagover and Friedrich Feher in the classic German Expressionist Silent movie horror film "The Cabinet of Dr. Caligari"
"The Cabinet of Dr. Caligari"

“The Cabinet of Dr. Caligari” began as a novella written by Hans Janowitz, who then worked with Carl Mayer to turn it into a screenplay. The two decided to integrate their personal experiences into the script, including a visit to a fortune teller who predicted Janowitz’s girlfriend would die, the fact that both writers were in love with the same girl, that Janowitz knew of a murder at an amusement park in Holstenwall, and a circus sideshow they attended which included a hypnotized strongman.


Werner Krauss gets customers as the carnival fair to see his sleepwalker somnambulist Cesaare   in the classic German Expressionist Silent movie horror film "The Cabinet of Dr. Caligari"
“The Cabinet of Dr. Caligari”

The two writers met with Erich Pommer, head of production at Decla-Film studios, who reportedly purchased the script the same day. The details of exactly how the film came to look the way it does remain sketchy, for decades later, writer Mayer, producer Pommer (though some say Rudolf Meinert was the film’s actual producer), designer Hermann Warm, and director Robert Wiene each gave their own accounts of how it came to be, none of which match.


High chairs and distorted rooms and furniture   in the classic German Expressionist Silent movie horror film "The Cabinet of Dr. Caligari"
“The Cabinet of Dr. Caligari”

It was said that Fritz Lang was briefly to direct the film but was busy directing “Die Spinnen” ("The Spiders”), so Pommer chose Robert Wiene, and Wiene’s direction is outstanding. His choices of what to show in each shot, his evocative placement and movement of characters within a frame, his use of shadows (such as in “Alan’s” bedroom), framing people in darkness, irising in and out (a decreasing or increasing circle acting like a spotlight), and his use of deep focus, mise en scène, lighting, and editing combine to add uneasiness and suspense, producing one highly engaging film.


Lil Dagover lies in bed as Conrad Veidt the somnambulist approaches in the classic German Expressionist Silent movie horror film "The Cabinet of Dr. Caligari"
"The Cabinet of Dr. Caligari"

Look at the famous scene when "Cesare" sneaks into "Jane's" bedroom. It begins with a long shot of “Jane” in the foreground, on her bed in a white nightgown, sensually engulfed by her white bedsheets. In the background are the room’s giant windows with the chairs and floor in front of them illuminated. The rest of the room is completely black. That shot is edited with inserts of “Cesare" in black, creeping along a wall, appearing outside the window, breaking the window, approaching “Jane”, and "Cesare's" face surrounded by blackness, emphasizing his dark thoughts. In addition to the moody lighting, sets, costumes, hair, and makeup, Wiene’s framing of “Jane” in the foreground and “Cesare” approaching from far in the distance creates mounting tension which increases as we watch him get closer and closer. We are helpless viewers watching events unfold. It set the blueprint for cinematic suspense.


Hans Heinrich von Twardowski as Alan  and Friedrich Feher as Francies at the carnival fiar Hans Heinrich von Twardowski as Alan in the classic German Expressionist Silent movie horror film "The Cabinet of Dr. Caligari"in the classic German Expressionist Silent movie horror film "The Cabinet of Dr. Caligari"
"The Cabinet of Dr. Caligari"

I should mention that abundant camera movement didn’t become the norm in movies until about 1924 or so (jump started by F. W. Murnau’s film “The Last Laugh”, with what he called his “unchained camera”). Moving the camera then flourished until the introduction of sound in 1927, when cameras once again became static until the use of microphones was ironed out (see my posts on “All Quiet on the Western Front” and "Scarface" for more on that).


Friedrich Feher at the insane asylum in the classic German Expressionist Silent movie horror film "The Cabinet of Dr. Caligari"
"The Cabinet of Dr. Caligari"

One may notice in “The Cabinet of Dr. Caligari” that Wiene manages to enthrall us while keeping the camera almost exclusively stationary throughout the entire film (I believe there’s only one pan and one tilt of the camera). That’s a pretty amazing feat, considering how much feeling camera moves can add to a shot. The other thing his static camera does is make us an engaged observer of this foreign world, watching characters navigate in and out of it. It's an ideal way to showcase such a visually dynamic universe.


Rudolf Lettinger and son wake up in bed from screams   in the classic German Expressionist Silent movie horror film "The Cabinet of Dr. Caligari"
“The Cabinet of Dr. Caligari”

Portrait photo of German Expressionist film director Robert Wiene with cigarette hanging from his mouth
Robert Wiene

Prussian-born Robert Wiene was the son of well known theater actor Carl Wiene. After studying at the University of Berlin, he briefly followed in his father's footsteps and acted on stage. In 1912, he began writing movie scripts, starting with "The Weapons of Youth", which he may have also directed (no one’s sure). He continued writing and directing films, including many starring German silent film star Henny Porten. Wiene had directed nearly two dozen films before "The Cabinet of Dr. Caligari”, which was a turning point in his career. He tried to duplicate the film's success with several more Expressionist films (such as "Genuine" and "The Hands of Orlac") but never did. For reasons that remain unknown, Wiene fled Germany in 1933 after the Nazis banned his film "Taifun", eventually making his way to London and Paris. He directed just over fifty films, others of which include the 1923 silent version of “Raskolnikow" (Fyodor Dostoyevsky's "Crime and Punishment”), "Crown of Thorns", "Panic in Chicago", and his final, 1938's "Ultimatum". Robert Wiene died in 1938 at the age of 65.


Hans Heinrich von Twardowski as Alan reads in his room in the classic German Expressionist Silent movie horror film "The Cabinet of Dr. Caligari"
"The Cabinet of Dr. Caligari”

German Expressionist painter movie art director film set designer portrait of young Hermann Warm
Hermann Warm

The writers wanted “The Cabinet of Dr. Caligari” to be artistically experimental, and German painter and art director Hermann Warm was introduced to Wiene to handle the art direction. As quoted in Siegfried Kracauer's 1947 film theory book "From Caligari to Hitler”, Warm believed "films must be drawings brought to life”. Few films if any utilize flat and painted sets as mesmerizingly and convincingly as this film, and Warm became one of the most important figures in German Expressionist cinema, helping introduce painted backdrops to films in place of three-dimensional sets. The German-born Warm worked on well over 100 films though 1956, including other silent classics such as "The Passion of Joan of Arc", “Vampyr", “Destiny", "Phantom", and "The Spiders - Episode 2: The Diamond Ship”. In 1965 he was awarded an Honorary German Film Award (also known as Lola) for his continued outstanding individual contribution to German cinema. Hermann Warm died in 1976 at the age of 87.


Friedrich Feher at the annual fair carnival in the classic German Expressionist Silent movie horror film "The Cabinet of Dr. Caligari"
"The Cabinet of Dr. Caligari"

Warm enlisted fellow painters and set designers Walter Reimann and Walter Röhrig to help with art direction for “The Cabinet of Dr. Caligari”. They were part of the German avant-garde literary and art magazine Der Sturm, and Reimann was part of the German Expressionist group of artists called “Die Brücke”. As quoted in Lotte H.Eisner’s essay, “The Beginnings of the Expressionist Film”, Warm says he, Reimann and Röhrig “spent a whole day and part of the night reading through this very curious script. We realized that a subject like this needed something out of the ordinary in the way of sets. Reimann, whose painting in those days had Expressionist tendencies, suggested doing the sets Expressionistically. We immediately set to work roughing up designs in that style”.


jagged and twisted streets and landscapes in the classic German Expressionist Silent movie horror film "The Cabinet of Dr. Caligari"
“The Cabinet of Dr. Caligari”

The film was a revelation. The design team’s deliberately distorted perspectives and shapes, the fact that the entire film was shot indoors (including outdoor scenes), the psychological perspective, and the believably unreal world brought to life in the film opened the industry’s eyes to new possibilities in cinema. The film was touted as art, elevating the medium, and suddenly it seemed anything was possible in movies.


Werner Krauss in extra long top har as the sinister doctor mad in the classic German Expressionist Silent movie horror film "The Cabinet of Dr. Caligari"
“The Cabinet of Dr. Caligari”

Starring in “The Cabinet of Dr. Caligari” is Werner Krauss as “Dr. Caligari”, the sinister little man with big devilish desires. Given the extreme style of this film, Krauss’ performance is low-key, super realistic, and emotionally truthful, which keeps one foot in reality in this nightmarish world. One completely believes him to be a wicked doctor, whether tired and perturbed with the town clerk, ecstatic when seeing “Cesare” for the first time, or panicked as the inspectors open up his cabinet. Even Krauss’ physicality adds tremendously, with a hobbling walk and rounded shoulders. It is a fantastic performance. Because the writers were such fans of Krauss, the part was written with him specifically in mind.


Friedrich Feher watches Werner Krauss who looks at Conrad Veidt in the classic German Expressionist Silent movie horror film "The Cabinet of Dr. Caligari"
“The Cabinet of Dr. Caligari”

Portrait photo of German film actor movie star Werner Krauss smoking a cigarette with hands in pockets
Werner Krauss

Bavarian-born Werner Krauss grew up in Poland and became an actor at the age of 19, appearing on stage throughout Germany. He made his film debut in the 1914 short film "The Black Triangle", and by 1916, followed famed theater director Max Reinhardt to Berlin. Krauss appeared in stage productions of "Hamlet" and "Faust", and in his first feature film "Hoffmanns Erzählungen" ("Tales of Hoffman") in 1916. He appeared in over fifty films before "The Cabinet of Dr. Caligari", often playing menacing characters. This film made him internationally famous. He continued working on screen and stage, and by 1926, had earned the reputation as the greatest living actor of his time, and one who could transform into the characters he portrayed. His other films include "Othello", "Tartuffe", "Waxworks", "The Student of Prague", "Nana", and "The Joyless Street".


Werner Krauss must become Claigari surrounded by words as thoughts in the classic German Expressionist Silent movie horror film "The Cabinet of Dr. Caligari"
"The Cabinet of Dr. Caligari"

Unlike many of his German actor peers, Krauss remained in Germany with the rise of the Nazis, became an unapologetic antisemite, enthusiastic supporter of the Nazi party, friend of German Propaganda Minister Joseph Goebbels, served as vice president of the Nazi Reichskulturkammer theatre department, and was officially regarded as a cultural ambassador of Nazi Germany by Hitler. With the death of Hitler, Krauss was banned from working in German films and theater. He was forced to enter a denazification program in 1947, which he did, and then returned to the stage in "King Lear" where he was met with protests in some cities. He appeared in just three more films and two TV appearances. He was married three times. Werner Krauss died in 1959 at the age of 75.


Conrad Veidt opens his eyes from a sleep as a somnambulist in the classic German Expressionist Silent movie horror film "The Cabinet of Dr. Caligari"
"The Cabinet of Dr. Caligari"

Also starring in “The Cabinet of Dr. Caligari” is Conrad Veidt as “Cesare”, the somnambulist. Veidt’s slow and deliberate performance is so impactful, the imagery he creates with his face and body have become iconic. The way “Cesare's” thin legs and outstretched arms slink across a wall is unforgettable. And the unsettling way he awakens from his sleep is spooky perfection – twitching his muscles and slowly opening his eyes in a wonderfully eerie manner – which reportedly had original audiences screaming (let’s not forget that movies had only been around as mass entertainment for about ten years and audiences weren’t used to seeing such frightening sights). Veidt’s other iconic scene is when he abducts “Jane”, which evidently made some audience members faint.


Conrad Veidt sleepwalks along a curved wall in the classic German Expressionist Silent movie horror film "The Cabinet of Dr. Caligari"
"The Cabinet of Dr. Caligari"

Portrait photo of very young film actor movie star German Hollywood Conrad Veidt holding cigarette
Conrad Veidt

Berlin-born Conad Veidt intended to become a surgeon, but turned to acting when he couldn’t make the grade (literally). He began studying acting and ended up under contract to Max Reinhardt, playing extras and bit parts on stage. His acting was briefly interrupted by army service during World War I, fighting in the Battle of Warsaw before becoming hospitalized with jaundice, recovering, and then entertaining the troops. Declared unfit for active duty, he returned to the theater to rave reviews. His film career started with 1917's "Der Web des Todes”, and he appeared in over thirty films before "The Cabinet of Dr. Caligari" (many with Krauss), including starring roles in the 1919 version of "Around the World in 80 Days", "Different from Others" (one of cinema's first gay-themed movies), "Eerie Tales", and "Patience". "The Cabinet of Dr. Caligari" made him a household name around the world. In 1933, he fled Germany with the rise of the Nazis, and eventually made his way to Hollywood, where he appeared in what has become his other most memorable film, "Casablanca", and you can read more about the life and career of the very talented Conrad Veidt in my post on that classic. Just click on the film title to open that post.


Friedrich Feher as Francis in the classic German Expressionist Silent movie horror film "The Cabinet of Dr. Caligari"
"The Cabinet of Dr. Caligari"

Friedrich Feher plays “Francis”, the protagonist of “The Cabinet of Dr. Caligari”. Feher stays true to the expressionist style of the film, painting a very theatrical portrait of the young “Franics”, such as his exaggerated reaction when he goes to check on “Alan”, or his larger than life emotions after seeing the director of the insane asylum. The film is about isolation, unease, and madness, and Feher’s performance captures it all.


Friedrich Feher with two police guards in the classic German Expressionist Silent movie horror film "The Cabinet of Dr. Caligari"
"The Cabinet of Dr. Caligari"

Portrait photo of Jewish German film actor movie director Friedrich Feher
Friedrich Feher

Austrian-born Friedrich Feher made his film debut in the 1911 short film "Opfer der Schande", and appeared in nineteen films before "The Cabinet of Dr. Caligari". In 1913, he made his directing debut with "Kabale und Liebe", directing five more films that year (including "William Tell" and "Die Räuber”), also starring in them. He appeared in 33 films, including 1923's "Hoffmanns Erzählungen" ("Tales of Hoffman") and "The Knight of the Rose" (directed by Wiene), and directed 34 films, including the Expressionist "Das Haus des Dr. Gaudeamus", "Hunted Men", and his final, the 1936 musical "The Robber Symphony", which earned him a Special Recommendation Award at the Venice Film Festival. “The Cabinet of “Dr. Caligari” remains his best known film and role. He was married to actress Magda Sonja, who appeared in several of his films. The Jewish Feher fled Germany and came to Hollywood, where he appeared in his final film, "Jive Junction" in 1943. Friedrich Feher returned to Germany and died in 1950 at the age of 61.


Lil Dagover as Jane in the classic German Expressionist Silent movie horror film "The Cabinet of Dr. Caligari"
“The Cabinet of “Dr. Caligari”

Another Expressionistic performance is that of Lil Dagover who plays “Jane”, “Francis’” fiancée. Like Feher, she forgoes realism in favor of displays of overwhelming emotion, such as when “Francis” tells her about “Alan”, or when she looks into the eyes of “Cesare”, perfectly blending into this world of embellished reality. This film helped Dagover become one of Germany’s most popular and recognized film actresses.


Lil Dagover is horrified with Friedrich Feher in the classic German Expressionist Silent movie horror film "The Cabinet of Dr. Caligari"
“The Cabinet of “Dr. Caligari”

Portrait glamour photo of German film actress movie star Lil Dagover  with short hair young
Lil Dagover

Lil Dagover was born in the Dutch East Indies (now Indonesia) to German parents. When she was about ten, her mother died and Dagover moved back to Germany with her father and two siblings. Orphan by the age of 13, she was raised by relatives and friends. Dagover pursued an acting career, starting on the stage, and made her film debut in the 1916 film "Die Retterin". She worked steadily in films, appearing in Fritz Lang's 1919 classic "The Spiders – Episode 1: The Golden Sea", followed by Lang's "Harakiri", which proved her breakthrough. "The Cabinet of Dr. Caligari" came shortly after, and she was now one of the most popular stars of the early 1920s. She made the transition to sound, and even appeared in the 1932 Hollywood film "The Woman from Monte Carlo". During World War II, Dagover remained in Germany and appeared in musicals and comedies. She remained apolitical, though was reportedly Hitler's favorite actress and had dinner with him a few times.


Conrad Veidt abducts Lil Dagover in the classic German Expressionist Silent movie horror film "The Cabinet of Dr. Caligari"
"The Cabinet of Dr. Caligari"

Dagover amassed 139 credits through 1979 (including her TV work), and her other films include "Phantom", "Tartuffe", "Der weiße Teufel”, "Die Barrings", two more by Lang (“Destiny" and "Dr. Mabuse: The Gambler“), and her final, 1979's "Tales from the Vienna Woods". She was nominated for three Lolas, winning a Silver for 1953's "Königliche Hoheit", and was given their Honorary Award in 1965 for her continued outstanding individual contributions to German films over the years. In 1967, she was awarded the Cross of Merit of the Federal Republic of Germany. She was married twice, including her second marriage to film producer Georg Witt. Lil Dagover died in 1980 at the age of 92.


Werner Krauss feeds Conrad Veidt in the classic German Expressionist Silent movie horror film "The Cabinet of Dr. Caligari"
"The Cabinet of Dr. Caligari"

There are countless bad quality prints of "The Cabinet of Dr. Caligari" out there, so make sure to watch a restored print. In 2014, the film was restored by Masters of Cinema and Kino Lorber (who did a 4K restoration) – both of which are gorgeous.


Conrad Veidt stars as Cesare the somnambulist sleepwalker in the classic German Expressionist Silent movie horror film "The Cabinet of Dr. Caligari"
"The Cabinet of Dr. Caligari"

Prepare to be completely hypnotized by a spellbinding tale of the macabre, where reality twists, shadows scream, and madness reigns. This is one magnificent film you will never forget. Enjoy “The Cabinet of Dr. Caligari”!



This blog is a weekly series (currently biweekly) on all types of classic films from the silent era through the 1970s. It is designed to entertain and inform through watching a recommended classic film a week. The intent is that a love and deepened knowledge of cinema will evolve, along with a familiarity of important stars, directors, writers, the studio system, and more. I highly recommend visiting (or revisiting) the HOME page, which explains it all and provides a place where you can subscribe and get email notifications of every new post. Visit THE MOVIES page to see a list of all films currently on this site. Please leave comments, share this blog with family, friends, and on social media, and subscribe so you don’t miss a post. Thanks so much for reading!



YOU CAN STREAM OR BUY THE FILM HERE

PLACES YOU CAN BUY THE FILM:


As an Amazon Associate I earn from qualifying purchases, and any and all money will go towards the fees for this blog. Thanks!!

Comments


bottom of page