VERY WEIRD "CABINET".....
Mark Norvell | HOUSTON | 09/07/2005
(4 out of 5 stars)
"Glynis Johns (Mrs. Banks in "Mary Poppins") stars as a woman who has a flat tire and finds herself first a guest and then a "prisoner" in an ultra modern house presided over by the sinister Dr.Caligari (Dan O'Herlihy). Bizarre experiences await her as she tries to escape. Strange other guests who may or may not have her best interests at heart are character actors J.Pat O'Malley, Constance Ford and Estelle Winwood. Plus O'Herlihy does double duty in two roles. The rather talky script is by Robert Bloch and the film seems like an extended "Twilight Zone" episode at times, which isn't a bad thing, but some may find it slow going. The acting is excellent however and there is a wild climax as Johns makes one last ditch effort to escape. "Caligari" is an in-name-only connection to the 1919 silent German classic but the aforementioned climax does owe a little to the expressionistic visuals of that film. The DVD is a fine print, I enjoyed it but "Caligari" is strictly a matter of taste experience. Plus it is very adult for the time as well with sex being a major part of the subject matter. Really weird twist ending too."
SPOLIER: Explaining the "double twist" of the film
Derek Jager | NYC | 09/22/2005
(5 out of 5 stars)
"Robert Bloch, the author of PSYCHO, never wanted to call the film by its released name but the title was forced on him by the producer.
And many, many people seem confused over the "twist ending." Actually, there are TWO twists...
Okay, at the end of the film, we realise that everything has happened in her mind -- all the threatening images and people were in HER MIND and a result of her psychosis.
But the twist WITHIN a twist is in the VERY LAST FRAME of the film, so keep watching. The last scene shows the camera pulling back and higher and you think it will just fade out on the sky. However, at the last instant, we see Dr. Caligari standing, giant-like, over the "scene" that has played out below/before him.
In other words, everything that just happened was all in HIS mind...it's like making a movie from God's perspective. Very odd and unsettling twist for a 1962 film!"
The Idea behind the movie IDENITY? A great Film! Loved it!
Judah Smith | New Mexico, USA | 02/18/2007
(5 out of 5 stars)
"I won't give away the ending except to say that I wonder if the writer for the movie IDENTITY saw this as a kid and used the same premise??? I watched this flick wondering what the heck was going on, and why everything was so freakin weird. And then the ending blew me away! If your a fan of the Twilight Zone or Outer Limits. (the original versions) get this movie. Has the look and feel of those old shows and a great twist!!!! It so sad this is a forgotten GEM. I never saw it before, and I'm a young guy, but a huge fan of old 50's and 60's thrillers. Especially Hitchcockian stuff. And I love moody black and white films. And this is it. The shot were she is being interrogated and the chess board is the main focus of the shot is cool. Makes me think they are subconsciously trying to show the conflict and the warring between her and Caligari. The movie is in my top 20 classic thrillers. Don't let the first hour and change of weirdness fool you. The pay off is worth it, and everything makes sense. To a modern audience, that has seen everything 80 different ways, you can probably see it coming early on, but its still fun to watch, and I can only imagine what a shock the ending would have been to a simpler audience at a simpler time. And the movie delves into some crazy stuff for its time. Very cool! Two thumbs up. And Some one need to get me the name of Caligari's interior decorator, cause I'm all about his house. Not to mention is cool beard and freaky Freudian speak! Trust me, watch this movie. And buy the dvd. You'll want to see this one more than once.
IN ADDITION TO MY ABOVE COMMENTS: I know why they call this The Cabinet of Caligari. There is a direct connection between this film and the 1919 Silent Film! Do you know what it is? I do-
**SPOILER** DO NOT READ IF YOU HAVE NOT SEEN THIS FILM. WILL RUIN THE FILM FOR YOU!
Ok, if you have seen the film, you realize the film is basically a dream. A dream of an unstable woman...or some claim Caligari himself. My verdict is still out on that one. But we definitely know it is the dream of someone unstable. And in an asylum. So what is the connection to the 1919 Silent Film. The original silent version has the exact same twist ending. The same underlying concept. In the original 1919 version all this weird stuff is happening you can't quite understand, and you find out at the end it is all the dream of an unstable asylum inmate. The two stories while told completely different, share the same ending and in a way the overall same concept. Both are about a crazy imagining a world in their head, and how strange a nightmare that can be. Which is again why it also in some ways reminds me of the film "IDENTITY"...another favorite of mine. But the relationship between these two films is more than a name. If if Robert Bloch hadn't intended it to be this way...in some strange way both film deal with the same ideas throughout, and share the exact same ending. In addition one of the reviews mentioned that he could not believe that the female star would want to commit suicide after being locked up for two days....what one has to remember is that this story is the produce of a disturbed mind, and has no real basis in reality. Things are happening around her, that her mind is transforming into something else. So she imagines she has been there for 2 days...but it could have been far longer. Or she could have been suicidal for many years, and being committed and locked up pushed her over the edge....in either case, to me it made perfect sense, once I understood everything was in her head. Also the relationship with her son, is a normal mother/son relationship once you realize she's crazy....in the conversations they have, he is speaking to her like a son...she is speaking to him like a love interest. Because she's crazy. And that's why in certain scenes he's so sad. He realizes from what she says she does not know he is her son. But is imagining he is something else. A hopeful lover/boyfriend? But it is interesting to re-watch the film, and see his reactions to her comments."
Update of a classic feels more modern than 1962
Corina Cook | Nazareth, PA | 05/03/2008
(4 out of 5 stars)
"The Cabinet of Caligari is a 1962 movie based loosely on The Cabinet of Dr. Caligari, a 1919 silent film. Ironically, it is very modern.
This is the kind of movie that is hard to examine without giving too much away. A young woman's car breaks down on vacation, and she finds her way to a huge mansion. The man of the house, Caligari, is all too willing to make her his guest, and soon, Jane finds herself more a prisoner. There are others in the house, some who seem to be guests too, and others who appear to be more aligned with Caligari, and she tries to figure out her place there and a way out.
I loved this movie for the dialogue. Caligari's prodding words were even mixed into a Nine Inch Nails version of Queen's "Get Down Make Love." He says, "How old were you when you first let a man make love to you? Next, who was he? Next, how did you feel at the time? Next, how did you feel afterwards? What did you feel? What did you think? Were you pleased, frightened, ecstatic, disgusted? What did he say? What words did you speak? That's what I want to know. Now. Tell me. Now. Now. All of it, now. Tell me. YES!"
It was so strange the way characters acted totally familiar with each other on first meetings. On the first watch, I chalked this up to 60s styling, but after the plot is fully revealed, everything makes perfect sense.
This is a horror film much like Memento could be considered one, but I think that it wasn't easily defined by a genre in its time, and horror was the closest. There were moments with really weird editing, especially near the end, that seemed to try to "spook" things up. Those scenes are a little funny, but they do add to the movie as a whole.