Film: The Cabinet of Dr. Caligari: A Film in Six Acts.
Aired in Feb 1920 - A silent movie.
GENRE: Gothic Horror, murder mystery (a fusion of the two)
Plot twist, the man telling the story is in fact a mental patient. This makes us believe that
the story is a delusion.
Characters: Jane Olson (His fiancé), Dr Olson (Janes father), Alan (his friend) Caesare –
somnamunist (a sleep walke), Dr. Caligari / The director
How does it convention of realism?
• Convention of silent film - Volume rises, during scenes of climax.
• Each act is a reel. When one reel stops there would be a pause. Continuous
switching of reels didn’t exist till 1930s.
• The film seemed long because it seemed slow. It seemed slow because shots
were long. The shot were longer during that time. Our attention span is lower
because smaller shots.
o European films tend to use longer shots.
• Movie starts with: Frances, and older guy sitting. Older man tells a story of
how spirits are walking by, Frances tells his story
• Dr Caligari goes to sign up for a fair. The town clerk humiliates him in front
of the public. The night of the carnival, town clerk is murdered.
• Alan asks Caesar when he will die – he says after dawn, Alan and Francis are
both in love, but don’t want to break up their friendship over it. Alan gets
killed after that.
• Francis tells Jane, he also consults Jane’s father who is a doctor they believe
Caesar might be the reason. So they get a permit.
• A new murderer is found trying to attempt, but so it throws everyone off the
trail. RED HERRING (term used in murder mystery, throws off)
• Jane goes to see Dr. Caligari and Jane sees Caesar and is frightened. Dr
Caligari sends Caesare after Dr. Olsens daughter.
• Caesar sent in with the knife, but Jane’s beauty overpowers Dr. Caligari’s
command. So he does not kill her. So he kidnaps her, but Jane screams and
town’s people awaken. He then drops Jane, and falls to his death as he
• So while Francis thinks it can’t be Caesar because he is watching Caesar’s
coffin all the time, but it is actually a dolly.
• Dr. Caligari flees to insane asylum, with the help of doctors Francis reads
Caligari’s diary that he wants to see if people can do things in sleep, which
they won’t do when they are asleep. • A dead Caesar is brought. Francis story ends, and he sees the director he goes
nuts. It turns out all the people in his delusion are mental patients (Jane,
Caesar). The doctor then says now that he thinks I’m Caligari I can cure him.
• So it is a story of madness within a story of madness.
Artificial Sets ------
Oblique acute obtuse
Make up: physiognomic
Physiognom: It is where the appearance mirrors the character.Janes coat has psycologic
There is a literary convention, that is the plot.
• There is something about the story that is rather sophisticated that is the plot. It is
a story with in a story
• It is a story of a crazy person.
• The vigilante is always deluded; He sees the story through the eyes