Dr Caligari Criticism

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 The German produced film by Robert Wiene, The Cabinet of Dr. Caligari (1920) hit American shores with a thunderous bang—albeit a divisive and tumultuous one. Though reaction was polarized, from a purely critical perspective, Caligari’s slick and surgical artistic precision exposed a glaring staleness in the air of American cinema, prompting a veritable arms race to match it’s creative force. In his book The Monster Show, author David J. Skal writes, “Caligari built up a pretentious head of steam, capitalizing on postwar xenophobia and traditional American self-doubts in matters artistic. Caligari was a kind of cultural sputnik launched out of nowhere by Europe, a gauntlet not thrown down, but projected up on the severing screen …show more content…
Their influence seems to be drawn from Mary Shelley’s Frankenstein, a classic pairing of master and monster. One could make the argument that the universally known relationship between Emperor Palpatine and Darth Vader in George Lucas’s original Star Wars Saga follows a similar path; a manipulative ruler twisting the soul of a younger pupil in order to exact his bidding. Another film that sticks out to me is Alfred Hitchcock’s 1960 classic Psycho. Although the circumstances are vastly different between these two films, I find that Norman Bates’ motivation is drawn from a domineering and abusive presence in his life, similar to that of Dr. Caligari. Furthermore, the use of shadows and silhouette in Psycho only furthers the claim that Hitchcock drew influence from the German Expressionist era of …show more content…
Caligari has a profound influence on the works of Tim Burton, specifically the characterization of his titular character in the 1990 film Edward Scissorhands. I found myself drawing comparisons between Edward and Cesare during my time with Dr. Caligari; not only are both characters physically similar, but their mannerisms align in many ways. Both men seem to be misunderstood by the world around them, whether it be Edward’s inability to adapt himself into society or the blame placed on Cesare for murders he has no control

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