THE CABINET OF DR. CALIGARI
DAS KABINETT DES DOKTOR CALIGARI
1919, Kino International, 75 min, Germany, Dir: Robert Weine

Director Robert Weine’s weird masterpiece is arguably the most striking and historically important work of German Expressionist silent cinema. Conrad Veidt is mesmerizing as Cesare, the pasty-faced somnabulist sent forth by psychotic asylum head Dr. Caligari (Werner Krauss) to do his evil bidding, specifically kidnapping beautiful waif Jane (Lil Dagover). Although a story framing device was added to bookend the nightmarish events (slightly blunting the subversive script by Hans Janowitz and Carl Mayer), the film still retains an astonishing power, in large part due to Veidt’s riveting portrayal, as well as the maze of twisted buildings, streets and rooms dreamed up by production designers Walter Reimann, Walter Röhrig and Hermann Warm.


THE PLEASURE GARDEN
1926, British Film Institute, 90 min, UK, Dir: Alfred Hitchcock

Fans of Alfred Hitchcock will likely notice familiar visual cues and themes in his directorial debut, which was released only after THE LODGER had proven a hit. American silent star Virginia Valli plays Patsy Brand, a chorus girl at the Pleasure Garden Theatre who befriends aspiring performer Jill Cheyne (Carmelita Geraghty). While Jill trifles with her many suitors, Patsy is faithful to her man - and it almost costs her her life.


ST. MARTIN’S LANE
1938, Cohen Film, 83 min, UK, Dir: Tim Whelan

Street entertainer Charles Staggers (Charles Laughton) has eyes for beautiful pickpocket Libby (Vivien Leigh) and convinces her to work the crowd as a busker instead of a thief. But Charles realizes that the posh Harley Prentiss (Rex Harrison) can do a lot more for Libby than he can. Featuring three outstanding performances, this clever comedy was released in the U.S. as SIDEWALKS OF LONDON – after GONE WITH THE WIND had made Leigh a star.


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