German Horror Classics (1919-23)
By Jeffrey M. Anderson
Buy German Horror Classics on DVD
Kino's outstanding four-disc set includes four silent classics: Robert
Wiene's The Cabinet of Dr.
Caligari (1919) is a landmark of Expressionist cinema and
contains many dazzling set pieces, but isn't exactly what you'd call
gripping. The DVD contains a "condensation" of another Wiene film,
Genuine: The Tale of a Vampire.
The Golem (1920)
plays as more of a history than a horror, but it contains some gorgeous
cinematography (by Karl Freund) plus the novelty of having been directed
by the golem himself, Paul Wegener. F.W. Murnau's
is a flat-out masterpiece and a must-see for both horror buffs and movie
lovers. Kino's Nosferatu looks a bit better than Image's DVD from
two years ago, but features different extras. Both discs come with two
different soundtracks, and my favorite is the Silent Orchestra on the
former disc. The former disc also contains a commentary track, but the
new disc contains clips of three rare Murnau films. In essence, I would
recommend owning both discs.
Paul Leni's Waxworks (1923)
stars future film director William Dieterle who gets a job writing text
for a wax horror show. The film tells three stories: Harun al Raschid,
Ivan the Terrible, and a very brief Jack the Ripper. Most of these
titles are available elsewhere in inferior, public domain versions,
so these Kino editions should be considered definitive.
Starring: Werner Krauss, Conrad Veidt, Max Schreck, Gustav von Wangenheim, Greta Schröder, Paul Wegener, Emil Jannings, William Dieterle
Written by: Hans Janowitz, Carl Mayer, Henrik Galeen, Paul Wegener
Directed by: Robert Wiene, F.W. Murnau, Paul Wegener, Paul Leni
MPAA Rating: Unrated
Running Time: 335 minutes
Date: October 24, 2002