The Cabinet of Caligari

Synopsis: while heading off on her holidays, Jane’s (Glynis Johns) car breaks down in the middle of nowhere. Conveniently, she happens upon a big old house and is invited in by the mysterious owner, Caligari. She accepts his invitation to spend the night while she waits for her car to be fixed, but soon finds herself a virtual prisoner. Add in a few oddballs who also live in Caligari’s house, some classic Freudian touches and some gratuitous underwear shots and that’s basically it.

What can I say? This is listed on IMDB as a remake of The Cabinet of Dr Caligari (1920), a silent film from Germany which I’d already heard of but never seen. From what I’ve read, the plot is quite different. Anyway, I digress. I quite enojoyed Caligari – it’s a campy thriller with a good central perforance from Glynis Johns (Mrs Banks in Mary Poppins) even though she seems to have been dolled up to look like Janet Leigh in Psycho which came out two years before this. The lighting and music are both great, and I found the story intriguing in spite of a weak ending. And if I was being really picky I’d say that Caligari’s accent was really distracting.

Look, it's Mrs Banks!

Look, it’s Mrs Banks!

Final thoughts: while I quite enjoyed The Cabinet of Caligari, I was disappointed by the ending. If you’ve seen Shutter Island or the dreadful Johnny Depp snoozefest Secret Window you’ll know what I mean.

Also, there was no cabinet.

Score: 6/10

Key info
Released: 1962
Running time: 1 hr 41 mins
Directed by: Roger Kay
Starring: Glynis Johns, Dan O’Herlihy

If you were so inclined you could watch the silent version for free here but that might make you an even bigger film nerd than me.

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