German Horror Classics [4 Discs] [DVD]
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$49.99
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Overview

Special Features

  • Cabinetof Dr. Caligari
  • Two musical scores
  • Photo/Art Gallery
  • 43-minute excerpt of Robert Wiene's Genuine: The Tale of a Vampire (1920)
  • Wiene behind the scenes of I.N.R.I (1923)
  • Nosferatu
  • Photo/art gallery
  • Excerpts from six films by F.W. Murnau including Phantom and the Haunted Castle
  • Scene comparison: Novel, script and film
  • Golem
  • Excerpt of the 1936 french film Le Golem
  • Creation: A Comparison of scenes
  • Waxworks
  • Paul Leni's 1926 short Rebus Film 1
  • Excerpt of the Thief of Bagdad

Synopsis

The Cabinet of Dr. Caligari
In one of the most influential films of the silent era, Werner Krauss plays the title character, a sinister hypnotist who travels the carnival circuit displaying a somnambulist named Cesare (Conrad Veidt). In one tiny German town, a series of murders coincides with Caligari's visit. When the best friend of hero Francis (Friedrich Feher) is killed, the deed seems to be the outgrowth of a romantic rivalry over the hand of the lovely Jane (Lil Dagover). Francis suspects Caligari, but he is ignored by the police. Investigating on his own, Francis seemingly discovers that Caligari has been ordering the somnambulist to commit the murders, but the story eventually takes a more surprising direction. Caligari's Expressionist style ultimately led to the dark shadows and sharp angles of the film noir urban crime dramas of the 1940s, many of which were directed by such German émigrés as Billy Wilder and Robert Siodmak. ~ Hal Erickson, Rovi

Nosferatu
F. W. Murnau's landmark vampire film Nosferatu isn't merely a variation on Bram Stoker's Dracula: it's a direct steal, so much so that Stoker's widow went to court, demanding in vain that the Murnau film be suppressed and destroyed. The character names have been changed to protect the guilty (in the original German prints, at least), but devotees of Stoker will have little trouble recognizing their Dracula counterparts. The film begins in the Carpathian mountains, where real estate agent Hutter (Gustav von Wagenheim) has arrived to close a sale with the reclusive Herr Orlok (Max Schreck). Despite the feverish warnings of the local peasants, Hutter insists upon completing his journey to Orlok's sinister castle. While enjoying his host's hospitality, Hutter accidently cuts his finger-whereupon Orlok tips his hand by staring intently at the bloody digit, licking his lips. Hutter catches on that Orlok is no ordinary mortal when he witnesses the vampiric nobleman loading himself into a coffin in preparation for his journey to Bremen. By the time the ship bearing Orlok arrives at its destination, the captain and crew have all been killed-and partially devoured. There follows a wave of mysterious deaths in Bremen, which the local authorities attribute to a plague of some sort. But Ellen, Hutter's wife, knows better. Armed with the knowledge that a vampire will perish upon exposure to the rays of the sun, Ellen offers herself to Orlok, deliberately keeping him "entertained" until sunrise. At the cost of her own life, Ellen ends Orlok's reign of terror once and for all. Rumors still persist that Max Schreck, the actor playing Nosferatu, was actually another, better-known performer in disguise. Whatever the case, Schreck's natural countenance was buried under one of the most repulsive facial makeups in cinema history-one that was copied to even greater effect by Klaus Kinski in Werner Herzog's 1979 remake - Nosferatu the Vampyre. ~ Hal Erickson, Rovi

Waxworks
German filmmaker Paul Leni functioned as both director and production designer for the Caligariesque Waxworks (Das Wachsfigurenkabinett). Using a wax museum as the unifying factor, Leni weaves three separate stories of Evil Incarnate. Emil Jannings stars as middle-Eastern despot Harroun al Raschid; Conrad Veidt is cast as Ivan the Terrible; and Werner Krauss impersonates Jack the Ripper. Of the three, Ivan is perhaps the most odious, especially in his sadistic cat-and-mouse treatment of his victims (it is said that Russian director Sergei Eisenstein patterned his Ivan the Terrible after Veidt's). On the strength of this film, Leni was invited to Hollywood by Universal's Carl Laemmle, and the result was the classic "old dark house" meller The Cat and the Canary. Sadly, most surviving prints of Waxworks are taken from the watered-down, expurgated American released version. ~ Hal Erickson, Rovi

Der Golem
Actor-director Paul Wegener made three films built around the mythical creature of Jewish legend: Golem was released in 1914, and a sequel of sorts, Der Golem und die Tänzerin, came out in 1917. This is the one film which has survived and is regarded among the landmarks of early German expressionism. In medieval Prague, Rabbi Loew (Albert Steinruck) observes the stars and concludes that trouble is brewing for his people. When the emperor issues a decree threatening the expulsion of Jews from the city, the rabbi, a master of magic, activates the Golem, a monstrous clay figure, to help save his congregation. The rabbi's daughter, Miriam (Lyda Salmonova, who also played this role in the 1914 film) is courted by two men, Famulus (Ernst Deutsch), the rabbi's assistant, and Knight Florian (Lathar Menthel), a messenger for the emperor. Famulus re-activates the Golem to vanquish his rival, and the monster goes berserk. Stylized sets and moody cinematography elevated Der Golem above the standard features of its time, its central figure has been the focus of a number of films produced in various countries, and the name has become a generic descriptor for any lumbering creature which can't be easily controlled. ~ Tom Wiener, Rovi

Cast & Crew

  • Werner Krauss
    Werner Krauss - Dr. Caligari
  • Conrad Veidt
    Conrad Veidt - Cesare
  • Lil Dagover
    Lil Dagover - Jane
  • Image coming soon
    Friedrich Feher - Francis
  • Image coming soon
    Hans Heinrich Von Twardowski - Alan
Product images, including color, may differ from actual product appearance.