Das Cabinet des Dr Caligari

  • Directors: Robert Wiene
  • Producers: Rudolf Meinert, Erich Pommer
  • Writers: Hans Janowitz, Carl Mayer
  • Genres: Horror, Thriller
  • Actors: Werner Krauss, Conrad Veidt, Lil Dagover, Hans Twardowski

The deranged Dr. Caligari and his faithful sleepwalking Cesare are connected to a series of murders in a German mountain village, Holstenwall. Caligari presents an example of a motion picture “frame story” in which most of the plot is presented as a “flashback”, as told by Francis.

The narrator, Francis, and his friend Alan visit a carnival in the village where they see Dr. Caligari and the somnambulist Cesare, whom the doctor is displaying as an attraction. Caligari brags that Cesare can answer any question he is asked. When Alan asks Cesare how long he has to live, Cesare tells Alan that he will die before dawn tomorrow – a prophecy which is fulfilled.

Francis, along with his betrothed Jane, investigate Caligari and Cesare, which eventually results in Cesare kidnapping Jane. Caligari orders Cesare to kill Jane, but the hypnotized slave refuses after her beauty captivates him. He carries Jane out of her house, leading the townsfolk on a lengthy chase. Cesare falls to his death during the pursuit, and the townsfolk discover that Caligari had created a dummy of Cesare to distract Francis.

Francis discovers that “Caligari” is actually the director of the local insane asylum, and, with the help of his colleagues, discovers that he is obsessed with the story of a monk called Caligari, who, in 1093, in northern Italy used a somnambulist to murder people as a traveling act. After being confronted with the dead Cesare, Caligari reveals his mania and is imprisoned in his asylum.

A “twist ending” reveals that Francis’ flashback is actually his fantasy: he, Jane and Cesare are all inmates of the insane asylum, and the man he says is Caligari is his asylum doctor, who, after this revelation of the source of his patient’s delusion, says that now he will be able to cure Francis.

Sunrise A Song of Two Humans

  • Directors: F W Murnau
  • Producers: William Fox
  • Writers: Carl Mayer, Story, Hermann Sudermann
  • Genres: Drama, Romance, Crime
  • Actors: George O Brien, Janet Gaynor, Margaret Livingston

The film tells a fable of a married farmer, The Man (George O’Brien) who gives up dinner with The Wife (Janet Gaynor) to continue an affair with The Woman From The City (Margaret Livingston).

The Woman convinces The Man that he should drown The Wife, sell the farm and move with her to The City. They decide he should take her out on a boat trip, commit the crime, and say it was an accident. The Wife agrees to go on the trip, yearning for any bit of time and affection from her husband, but soon grows suspicious of his behavior.

The two go out on a boat to the City. Halfway across the Man stands up and makes ready to throw the Wife overboard. Looking into her eyes he realizes he can’t do it. He sits back down heavily and begins frantically rowing for the shore. When the boat lands, the Wife flees. The Man follows her.

Eventually the two end up in the City. The Man, desperate to apologize and make things right, ends up following the Wife throughout the City until they reach a church. Going inside, they find a wedding in progress. As the couple marrying swear their vows, the Man begins to cry and remembers why he fell in love with the Wife to begin with. Arm-in-arm they leave the church.

Stricken with grief, the man is returned to his home by the local villagers. Later his mistress calls out to him, but his despair and loneliness turn to rage and he chases after the mistress in a blind fury. He eventually catches her and begins to strangle her, but before he can, there arises a commotion from the villagers who claim they found his wife. He releases his ex-mistress and goes to see his wife who is indeed alive, and the film fades to black as they embrace while the sun rises.