Oct. 14, 1993
Vol. 13, No. 4

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    'Cabinet of Dr. Caligari' Oct. 23

    The 1919 silent film classic, "The Cabinet of Dr. Caligari," will be screened in a hand-tinted, original 35mm print at 7 and 9:30 p.m. on Saturday, Oct. 23, in Rockefeller Memorial Chapel. Wolfgang Ruebsam will improvise his accompaniment on the chapel's E.M. Skinner organ.

    This Rockefeller Chapel presentation is part of the film series "New Public Spheres: Aesthetics and Activism in Early German Cinema," sponsored by the Smart Museum of Art and Doc Films.

    Following its 1920 premiere in Berlin, "The Cabinet of Dr. Caligari" was hailed as "the first really artistic film drama." The story, written by Hans Janowitz and Carl Mayer, concerns Caligari (Werner Krauss), a crazed psychiatrist who uses hypnosis to maintain absolute control over the somnambulist Cesare (Conrad Veidt) and to force him to commit murder.

    The writers intended to make a political statement about Germany's abuse of power during World War I, but director Robert Wiene negates this implication by restoring authority at the end of the film.

    The expressionist sets, full of sharp angles and distortions of scale, were designed by artists Hermann Warm, Walter Reimann and Walter Roehrig. Warm's belief that "films must be drawings brought to life" guided their work, which includes shadows painted to contradict the actual lighting conditions on the set.

    The original, hand-tinted 35mm print to be screened was obtained from the German Institute for Film Research in Berlin with the help of the Goethe Institute. The film will be shown with the original German intertitles, with English translations projected on an adjacent screen.

    Tickets, which will be available at the door, are $7 for the general public and $5 with a student ID. The chapel's share of the proceeds will benefit the restoration of the Skinner organ.

    For more information, call 702-2100.