The Cabinet of Caligari
|The Cabinet of Caligari|
|Directed by||Roger Kay|
|Produced by||Roger Kay|
|Written by||Robert Bloch|
|Music by||Gerald Fried|
|Cinematography||John L. Russell|
|Edited by||Archie Marshek|
|Distributed by||20th Century Fox
Associated Producers Inc
|Release date(s)||25 May 1962|
|Running time||105 min.|
Although the film has a title that is very similar to that of the acclaimed silent horror film The Cabinet of Dr. Caligari (1920), it shares very few similarities, except for the main plot twist. The film is notable for a script penned by author Robert Bloch, author of the novel Psycho. The cinematographer for The Cabinet of Caligari was John L. Russell, who also worked on Alfred Hitchcock's film Psycho (1960) based on Bloch's novel.
The story of how director Roger Kay tried to rob Bloch of the writing credit for the film but of how Bloch won out is told in Bloch's autobiography.
Motorist Jane Lindstrom (Glynis Johns) has a blowout and seeks assistance at an estate owned by Caligari (Dan O'Herlihy), a very polite man with a German accent. After spending the night she finds that Caligari will not let her leave; he proceeds to ask some personal questions and shows her disgusting pictures.
Prevented by guards from leaving, and unable to telephone, Jane seeks allies among the other guests but finds only three possible candidates: the older Paul, the younger Mark (Dick Davalos) (for whom she has romantic desires), and a lively elderly woman named Ruth (Estelle Winwood). After seeing Ruth tortured, Jane goes to Paul who convinces her to confront Caligari. Jane does so and tries to seduce him, as she suspects he has been spying on her in the bath. After that fails, Caligari reveals that he and Paul and are one and the same person and Jane runs down a corridor of wildly shifting imagery that acts as a transition.
Finally it is revealed that Jane is a mental patient and everything the audience has seen up to this point has been her distortion of the institute she was in: the personal questions were psychoanalysis, the disgusting pictures were Rorschach cards, Ruth's torture was shock treatment, and even Caligari's coat of arms was a distorted version of the medical caduceus symbol. Cured, Jane is taken from the asylum by Mark, now revealed to be her son; and then we see Jane's face. She now has many wrinkles implying that she is far older than the smooth-skinned woman we have seen through most of the film.
- Glynis Johns as Jane
- Dan O'Herlihy as Paul/Caligari
- Dick Davalos as Mark
- Lawrence Dobkin as David
- Constance Ford as Christine
- Estelle Winwood as Ruth
- J. Pat O'Malley as Perkins
- Once Around the Bloch: An Autobiography (1993), pp 258-62, 264-68
- The Cabinet of Caligari at AllMovie
- The Cabinet of Caligari at the Internet Movie Database
- The Cabinet of Caligari at Rotten Tomatoes
- The Cabinet of Caligari at the TCM Movie Database
- The Cabinet of Caligari at the American Film Institute Catalog