The Cabinet of Dr Caligari

Robert Wiene (1920)




A man named Francis relates a story about his best friend Alan and his fiancée Jane.  

In flashback, Alan takes Francis to a fair where they meet Dr. Caligari, who exhibits a somnambulist called Cesare, who can predict the future. When Alan asks how long he has to live, Cesare says he has until dawn. The prophecy comes to pass, as Alan is murdered, and Cesare is a prime suspect.

Later, Francis spies on Caligari and what seems to be a sleeping Cesare.  However, we see Cesare creep into Jane’s bedroom and abduct her.  He flees from the pursuing townspeople until he collapses, returning to his sleeping state.

Meanwhile, Francis and the police discover that the sleeping Cesare is really a dummy used by Claigari as an alibi. Caligari flees.  Francis tracks him to a mental asylum to discover that Caligari himself is the asylum director! Or is he? Francis’ story turns out to have been the ravings of a madman and the director appears perfectly normal.


Key Scenes:

Caligari wakes Cesare

Alan is murdered

Jane’s kidnap

Caligari’s hallucination

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