With twisted and bizarre sets, eccentric acting and a dark psychological tone, The Cabinet of Dr. Caligari is a revolutionary piece of filmmaking whose presence can be felt throughout cinema history. As one of the first German Expressionist films, The Cabinet of Dr. Caligari is also one of the earliest examples of framed narrative [http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Frame_story] and twist ending represented on film. A completely new way of approaching moving pictures, The Cabinet of Dr. Caligari is a must watch for lovers of the art of film.
The Cabinet of Dr. Caligari begins with Francis (Friedrich Feher) describing a recent turmoil he suffered in his hometown. Flashing back to the beginning of the annual fair in Holstenwall, the mysterious Dr. Caligari (Werner Krauss) arrived to display his prized attraction; a somnambulist (sleepwalker) named Cesare (Conrad Veidt). A series of bizarre murders begin to take place, and the town is gripped with fear. Francis looses his best friend, Alan (Hans Heinrich von Twardowski), to the mysterious killer, and his fiancé, Jane (Lil Dagover), is stricken with shock after being kidnapped by the deranged madman.
George Méliès’ 1902 epic short, La Voyage dans la Lune (A Trip to the Moon), invented the science fiction film, and revolutionized filmmaking.
Méliès’ film centers on a group of astronomers, depicted as wizard-like men with pointed, star-covered hats, who find a way to reach the moon. Using theatre-like sets and performers, Méliès follows the men as they design a giant projectile that will be fired, via cannon, at the Moon. Using forced perspective and various dissolves, Méliès transitions between his scenes perfectly. Wooden facades painted like the interior of a grand lecture hall, or the craggy landscape of the Moon give the film a light, almost comical touch. Effects that are on par with science fiction and monster movies made decades later enhance Méliès’ film, giving it an air of modernity. Some of the effects are simply astounding for a film made in 1902, and, apart from the lack of sound and the quality of the film stock itself, rank with the likes of 1950’s science fiction.
G.W. Pabst’s Pandora’s Box is a revolutionary piece of filmmaking in both subject matter and the intricacy with which it was shot.
Starring the endearing Louise Brooks as an equally endearing and flirty Lulu who has reached the upper echelon of her life. She has charmed herself into the graces of a wealthy newspaperman, Dr. Ludwig Schön (Fritz Kortner) who has put her up in a beautiful apartment and given her a substantial allowance. Dr. Schön, however, must marry a respectable society woman, and attempts to break away from his mistress, to the immense dismay of Lulu. She uses her feminine guile to seduce Dr. Schön’s son who is attempting to organize a stage revue. Familiar with her cunning, Dr. Schön prods his son into letting Lulu become part of his play, in hopes that she will be swept up by the fame and forget about him and his son.