Dr. Caligari

Last year, we attended a showing of Fritz Lang’s dystopian silent film, Metropolis, a production of Washington’s Constellation Theatre. The film was accompanied by a masterful performance by percussionist, sound designer and one man band Tom Teasley (or perhaps it would be more accurate to say that Teasley’s complex music was accompanied by the movie). It was a bravura performance of every type of drum and cymbal and all sorts of things that can be blown, shaken or scratched. Along with all sorts of computers and electronic devices. And the classic film is fascinating.

Last night, there was a reprise of sorts. The same theater, the same Teasley, but this time it was the 1920 German film, The Cabinet of Dr. Caligari.

Well, I guess it’s true. You can’t go home again. The film is interesting, to be sure, but not what I would call entertaining. And Teasley’s accompaniment was accomplished and very energetic, but to me lacked last year’s “wow” factor.

As far as the movie goes, sure it’s a classic. And quirky. But also hard to follow at times and not very interesting. The director of the mental hospital hypnotizes someone who becomes his somnambulist, asleep until commanded to awaken and kill. Who needs it? And as an analogy to the mean spirited government and sleepwalking populace? Doesn’t do it for me.


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