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Das Cabinet des Dr. Caligari (4K Ultra HD Blu-ray Review)

REVIEW OVERVIEW

The Film
The Video
The Audio
The Supplements
Overall

SUMMARY

Suspicion falls on the nefarious hypnotist Dr. Caligari who appears to be using somnambulist Cesare to carry out murders under the cover of darkness in a small German town in this expressionist horror classic from the silent era.

eka70480_das_cabinet_uhdDas Cabinet des Dr. Caligari is the 1920 silent film by German director Robert Wiene. A German expressionist landmark long heralded as the birth of the horror genre, the story, scripted by Carl Mayer and Hans Janowitz, follows titular character Dr. Caligari (played by Werner Krauss), a nefarious hypnotist who plays the carnival circuit with a somnambulist named Cesare (Conrad Veidt) who wows crowds by claiming to be able to tell their futures. At night, in a small German town, a series of murder takes place, and suspicion falls on Caligari, especially by Francis (Friedrich Feher) whose friend is among those who are killed.

Calling Dr. Caligari influential would be an understatement. Not only would the horrific subject matter spawn the offshoot horror genre, but the expressionist style of the film, set in an angular world of shadows and unreal sets that are out of place and out of this world would go on to influence film noir, reappearing in works like M from Fritz Lang, the numerous works of Billy Wilder, or even the more contemporary Tim Burton.

The Video

Eureka Entertainment’s Masters of Cinema series presents the 2014 restoration of Das Cabinet des Dr. Caligari on 4K Ultra HD in a 1.33:1 HEVC 2160p (4K UHD) SDR encodement. The extensive restoration taken from the original negatives apart from the first reel, which could not be found and was reconstructed from differing sources, looks miraculous given the film’s now 102-year-old vintage. Once you get past Act 1 especially, the scratches, tramlines, and coarse granularity clears up and it is like one is looking through a time machine. The film has a magnificent amount of detail, the tinting comes across nicely, and the title cards also look truly clear and legible.

The Audio

Both the 2014 score and the 2019 score are included for the film. The 2014 score by Cornelius Schwer, a piano-based orchestral score, is included in LPCM 2.0 stereo and DTS-HD Master Audio 5.1 while the 2019 score by Uwe Dierksen and Hermann Kretzschmar, a more modernist and percussive orchestral score, is in LPCM 2.0 stereo only. The sound for both scores is excellent whether is the 5.1for the 2014 score which places you in the performance space like a traditional classical recording, or the 2.0 mixes which sound equally natural.

The Supplements

Limited Edition UHD Boxset (3000 Copies) Features:

  • Hardbound Slipcase featuring artwork by Kevin Tong (Tragic Sunshine)
  • A LIMITED EDITION 100-PAGE BOOK featuring archival writing and articles including vintage writing on the film by Lotte H. Eisner; an original Variety review of the film; rare imagery; and more

Bonus Features:

  • Kevin Lyons and Jonathan Rigby Commentary
  • David Kalat Commentary
  • The Asylum in Film by Kim Newman (1080p; 00:14:16)
  • You Must Become Caligari by David Cairns – A work of speculative criticism (1080p; 00:15:39)
  • Caligari: The Birth of Horror in the First World War (1080p; 00:52:52) – 52 minute documentary on the cultural and historical impact of the film
  • On the Restoration (1080p; 00:08:46)
  • Re-Release Trailer (1080p)

The Final Assessment

An early masterpiece from the silent era that looks stunning in this 4K release from the Masters of Cinema series from Eureka Entertainment. This is the perfect way to discover or rediscover the immeasurably influential work that is the root of many genres and subgenres we take for granted today. Highly recommended.

Das Cabinet des Dr. Caligari (Limited Edition) is out on 4K Ultra HD in the UK 5 December 2022 from Eureka Entertainment


  • Rating Certificate: UK: U
  • Studios & Distributors: Decla-Bioscop AG | Eureka Entertainment
  • Director: Robert Wiene
  • Written By: Carl Mayer | Hans Janowitz
  • Run Time: 77 Mins.
  • Street Date: 5 December 2022
  • Aspect Ratio: 1.33:1
  • Video Format: HEVC 2160p (4K UHD)
  • HDR Format: SDR
  • Primary Audio: 2014 Score (DTS-HD MA 5.1) | 2014 Score (LPCM 2.0 Stereo) | 2019 Score (LPCM 2.0 Stereo)
  • Subtitles: English
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Suspicion falls on the nefarious hypnotist Dr. Caligari who appears to be using somnambulist Cesare to carry out murders under the cover of darkness in a small German town in this expressionist horror classic from the silent era. Das Cabinet des Dr. Caligari (4K Ultra HD Blu-ray Review)