Subject: I have found a DVD that I think you would enjoy
|German Horror Classics / The Cabinet of Dr Caligari / Waxworks / The Golem|
Actors: Werner Krauss, Conrad Veidt, Friedrich Feher, Lil Dagover, Paul Wegener
Directors: Paul Wegener, Carl Boese, F.W. Murnau, Leo Birinsky, Paul Leni
Genres: Indie & Art House, Classics, Horror, Science Fiction & Fantasy, Mystery & Suspense
Very nice box set of four classic German Expressionist films
Stephen H. Wood | 12/21/2002
(4 out of 5 stars)
"I am not going to comment on the films individually here, other than to mention that I was ecstatic to find that Kino made Art Zoyd's "Nosferatu" soundtrack available as an alternative on the "Nosferatu" DVD. I have had the Art Zoyd "Nosferatu" CD since it was first released, and found it to be quite a chilling musical score. It is very satisfying now to finally see it as an *actual* score along with the movie.All of the discs seem to have very clean transfers. I do not have the luxury or experience to do a first-hand comparison of the various releases and transfers, but watching these DVDs the image is as clean as one could expect from films from the 1920's. It seems evident to me that care and not insignificant research was put into each DVD. I have very much enjoyed viewing all of the movies in the set. (Now, onto Murnau's Faust! And the soon-to-be-re-released Metropolis, also from Kino.)"
The Height of Silent-Era German Expressionism
Gary F. Taylor | Biloxi, MS USA | 10/03/2004
(5 out of 5 stars)
"Like most artistic "isms," expressionism is difficult to define. In a general sense, it refers to art where the artist is less interested in depicting reality than in making a highly personal statement about a specific subject. Since this occurs to some degree in virtually all art, expressionism has very deep roots--but in the early 1900s it began to develop into a very specific arts movement, most often associated with the stage, where the legendary Eugene O'Neill would prove a master of the style. But it was also very specifically associated with post-World War I Germany, and in 1919 director Robert Wiene would create the first purely expressionistic film: THE CABINET OF DR. CALIGARI.
The film divided both critical and popular response, but once pure expressionism reached the screen it touched off a series of German films that dabbled in the style to at least some degree. This memorable Kino Video box set collects four of the most famous: the aforementioned CALIGARI, the 1920 THE GOLEM, the 1922 NOSFERATU, and the rarely seen 1924 WAXWORKS. Both individually and collectively, these films and others like them have cast an extremely long shadow, influencing directors as diverse as James Whale, Frederico Fellini, and Bob Fosse.
CALIGARI, THE GOLEM, and NOSFERATU are widely available in various "budget" releases, but it has been my hard-won experience that in such situations you get what you pay for: most are unwatchable. The Kino editions, however, are very much "best case" prints, contrast balanced and with original tints restored. Short of full digital restoration, this is as good as it gets, and while they may seem pricey in comparison they are well worth every cent.
Sadly, none of the DVDs offer significant bonus material. This is particularly unfortunate in the case of CALIGARI, which is such a unique film that it alone would be worthy of a double DVD edition. Still, the occasional bonuses are entertaining if not greatly satisfying, and even with this drawback the box set as a whole--and every title in it--is a must-have for any one who is seriously interested in world cinema.
GFT, Amazon Reviewer
German silent horror masterpieces in definitive prints
Stephen H. Wood | South San Francisco, CA | 09/25/2005
(5 out of 5 stars)
When it comes to horror films, I am far off the beaten path and in another world. I like my horror subtle and moody and intelligent, not the modern slasher and splatter variety. Four of my all-time favorite horror films are the German Horror Classics silents in an elegant (and expensive--$70) boxed set from Kino Video-THE CABINET OF DR. CALIGARI (1919), THE GOLEM (1920), NOSFERATU (1922), and WAXWORKS (1926). This boxed set is perfect for Halloween season, year after year. It is the ultimaTe show and tell at parties. Kino has the finest and longest prints, with original roadshow color tinting and a variety of evocative new music scores. You get what you pay for, and you are averaging only $18 a movie.
Most prints of Robert Weine's DR. CALIGARI only run 52 minutes, in B&W. This collection has it color-tinted at 75 minutes from a 35mm German film archive print and with two music score options-modern jazz or soft orchestra. This is the first great horror film, about a traveling circus with a madman and his murderous assistant. Also included on the disk is a 48 minute condensation of another Weine film, GENUINE: THE TALE OF A VAMPIRE (1920). A CALIGARI photo gallery is included.
THE GOLEM, from star/director Paul Wegener, is set in a medieval German town. A giant clay man helps save a village from an evil dictator. This was the forerunner of all the FRANKENSTEIN movies. It runs 86 minutes, from the Munich Film Archive, with a new music score.
Paul Leni's WAXWORKS was made in Germany only a couple of years before he did THE CAT AND THE CANARY (1927). Jon Marsalis provides a lush new music score. The movie has the original roadshow color tinting and runs 85 minutes. A young scholar is hired to write wax museum program notes for statues of Jack the Ripper, Harrun al-Raschid, and Ivan the Terrible. This is the finest print I have ever seen of this.
The crown jewel of this exquisite Kino boxed set is a restored, way longer than usual 93 minute archive print of Murnau's NOSFERATU. (I've seen several prints that only run 63 minutes!) You get what you pay for from Kino, the Rolls Royce of the DVD industry. An unauthorized, yet definitive, film of Dracula, this lovely print has full color-tinting and a choice of two different music scores. You also get a photo gallery and lengthy excerpts from several other Murnau silent films.
Happy Halloween with true chills from Kino with their German Horror Classics boxed set. Again, it is expensive, but a true labor of love for serious collectors. You know who you are. Now to choose between this and the Val Lewton Collection, the new 3-disk WIZARD OF OZ, and a special two disk PHANTOM OF THE OPERA (1925)! (REVIEWED ON 35MM ARCHIVE DVD)
Great Films, but a Poor Deal
shaxper | Lakewood, OH | 12/21/2007
(3 out of 5 stars)
"After several years of begging, I finally received this box set as a holiday gift, and I'm surprisingly disappointed with what I received. I can't say enough about the quality of these amazing films, but these Kino Authorized Restored editions are not all they're cracked up to be.
This collection contains Kino Authorized Restored versions of Nosferatu, The Cabinet of Dr. Caligari, Waxworks, and The Golem.
The Nosferatu edition, containing an overly experimental "period" soundtrack (that even uses voice in some places), inaccurate tinting, and some questionably translated title cards, has already been made obsolete by an even newer Ultimate Edition. Four years after this version's release, even Kino knew it had to be redone. But don't expect Kino's newer, better version in this box set.
The Dr. Caligari edition, while containing the original color tinting, is a terrible cut, containing frequent blurs, dark spots, and an excessive amount of scratching and contrast problems. As I said in a review for that edition, even the cheap Alpha Video edition has a clearer picture. Add to that another ultra-modernized soundtrack that doesn't feel authentic for the film, and you have yourself one poor Restored Edition. Count on Kino to release a fixed, Ultimate Edition of this film soon.
The Golem is perhaps the best deal of this boxed set, though it can easily be bought on its own. The film still suffers from a lot of scratching, but it's leaps and bounds beyond the quality of any other edition I've ever seen. While the soundtrack is also very modern, it matches the tone and period of the film far better than in Nosferatu or Dr. Caligari, calling upon traditional Jewish folk music for its inspiration.
Admittedly, I've yet to watch the version of Waxworks contained in this box set, though I doubt many people were thinking of Waxworks when they decided to purchase this set. It's certainly the least known of the films contained within. I would say the fact that two of the four films in this set are explicitly inferior to other editions out there makes this set a poor choice. Buy The Golem (and perhaps Waxworks), but go elsewhere for Caligari, and buy the better Ultimate edition of Nosferatu.