Classic Movie Hub (CMH)


Finnish censorship certificate T-11308 (video) delivered on 9-9-1993.

French visa # 31203.

In the May 12, 1921 edition of the Chicago Daily News, Carl Sandburg wrote of the film: "It is a healthy thing for Hollywood, Culver City, Universal City, and all other places where movie film is being produced, that this photoplay has come along at this time. It is sure to have healthy hunches and show new possibilities in style and method to our American Producers."

Made before "horror" was a designated genre, this is sometimes cited as the first true horror film (although films with elements of the macabre were certainly made earlier).

New German censorship certificate # 32202 delivered on 10-6-1964, renewed on 3-2-1995.



Original German censorship certificate 'Jugendverbot' delivered in March 1920.

Producer Erich Pommer wanted to have Fritz Lang as the film's director. Lang was interested, but then decided to work on another film.

The earliest German film including among the '1001 Movies You Must See Before You Die', edited by Steven Jay Schneider.

The sets were made out of paper, with the shadows painted on the walls.

Weeks before the initial release of the film, posters with the tag-line "Du mu├čt Caligari werden!" ("You have to become Caligari!") were put up in Berlin without the slightest hint that they were promotion for the upcoming movie.

When the film opened at the Capitol Theater in New York in April 1921, some audience members reportedly booed and demanded their money back.

Widely considered to be the first true horror film ever made.

Writer Hans Janowitz added the opening and closing scene after political pressure was put on the film. The censors felt that without those scenes the audience would believe that authority (represented by Caligari) could be deemed insane.

Writer Hans Janowitz claims to have gotten the idea for the film when he was at a carnival one day. He saw a strange man lurking in the shadows. The next day, he heard that a girl was brutally murdered there. He went to the funeral, and saw the same strange man lurking around. He had no proof that the strange man was the murderer, but he fleshed the whole idea out into his film.

Writer Hans Janowitz wrote the female lead character for his girlfriend Gilda Langer, an actress at the "Residenz-Theater" in Berlin but it is Lil Dagover that finally got the role.


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