Scenery That Acts - Motion Pictures Historical Scenes

The scenes made for "The Cabinet of Dr. Caligari"

Courtesy Goldwyn

The scenes made for "The Cabinet of Dr. Caligari" are the latest word in moving picture background. They picture the hallucination of an unbalanced mind.

The story of the drama is told by an inmate of an asylum who believes the leading physician of the asylum to be the reincarnation of an evil Dr. Caligari who lived in the twelfth century, and who traveled about the country with a somnambulist whom he exhibited at fairs.

The doctor, according to the inmate's story, rejoiced in making the somnambulist commit crimes, and the inmate believes himself to be the hero who will convict the evil Caligari. The scenes form a series of remarkable "futurist" compositions.

Streets curve crazily lantern posts lean' in wide angles over stone walls; and doors and halls achieve the uncanny spirit of the story by being mere oblique lines or a disconnected series of curves.

Long triangles of splotched color stretch upward to form a striped, hollow pyramid; draperies hanging in a festoon, like a huge blanket, sag with the weighted impressions of falling skies, of imminent catastrophe, of doom. The weird background has been called "scenery that acts".

Source: THE MENTOR, Volume 9, Number 6, July 1, 1921, Page 28

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