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The Cabinet of Dr. Caligari

4K Ultra HD

Blu Ray

  • Score
    from 3 reviewers
    Review Date:
  • Eureka's 4K UHD Caligari ignites horror's birth with unmatched quality, extras, and psychological depth. A collector's dream.

    The Cabinet of Dr. Caligari 4K UHD Blu-ray Front Cover

    Disc Release Date:

  • Video
  • The Cabinet of Dr. Caligari's 4K restoration dazzles with intricate detail and depth, reflecting its meticulous preservation and enhancement, despite HDR's absence.

  • Audio
  • Options include LPCM 2.0 & DTS-HD 5.1 of 2014's score and a new 2019 LPCM 2.0 score. The 5.1 offers depth, while 2019's is more percussive. Subtitles are well-presented. Preferred the 2014 track for its atmospheric depth.

  • Extra
  • Eureka's 4K Blu-ray of The Cabinet of Dr. Caligari features enriching extras including commentaries, essays on asylum portrayal and the film's history, a documentary on its socio-political impact, a video essay, a restoration promo, and a comprehensive book.

  • Movie
  • The Cabinet of Dr. Caligari, a seminal German horror film, is celebrated for its expressionist style and complex narrative, influencing cinema and receiving a rich 4K restoration.

    Video: 92

    The 4K UHD Blu-ray release of "The Cabinet of Dr. Caligari" offers a remarkable restoration and presentation that will astonish enthusiasts of classic cinema and restoration aficionados alike. This edition stems from an intensive restoration process conducted in 2014 by Friedrich-Wilhelm-Murnau-Stiftung, employing the original film negatives where available. Despite utilizing the same sources as the 2014 Blu-ray release, the UHD version presents the film at its native 4K resolution, without the addition of HDR. This decision, while initially seeming a missed opportunity to enhance the primary color spectrum and dynamic range, respects the film’s historical context and visual aesthetics, which might not benefit significantly from HDR enhancement.

    The visual fidelity of this release is most evident after the first act, as it transitions from a slightly lower quality sourced segment to one of outstanding clarity and detail from the second reel onwards. The painstaking restoration work has brought to life textures, facial details, and the intricate makeup on characters like Caligari with unprecedented clarity. The painted backdrops, set details, and clothing textures are more defined and sharper than ever seen before. Additionally, the film’s original tints are beautifully rendered, enhancing the visual experience without becoming garish. Despite the absence of HDR, contrast levels and grayscale depth significantly improve, offering a poignant and immersive viewing that showcases shadow details previously engulfed in obscurity.

    Moreover, the preservation efforts ensure that original print damage is minimized, with occasional visible defects becoming a minor distraction rather than a significant detriment. This release showcases an extraordinary commitment to film preservation, striking a balance between maintaining historical authenticity and leveraging modern restoration technologies to offer an unparalleled viewing experience. The improved delineation and depth, particularly noticeable in close-ups and large screen presentations, underscore the meticulous restoration effort. While the lack of Dolby Vision/HDR may deter some, the native 4K resolution significantly elevates the film's visual narrative, rendering this release a definitive edition for both newcomers and long-time fans of "The Cabinet of Dr. Caligari.

    Audio: 91

    The 4K UHD Blu-ray release of "The Cabinet of Dr. Caligari" presents a satisfying auditory experience with three audio tracks for its audience: DTS-HD 5.1 surround, LPCM 2.0 stereo for the 2014 score, and an additional LPCM 2.0 stereo track for the recently recorded 2019 score by Uwe Dierksen & Hermann Kretzschmar. The DTS-HD 5.1 surround track stands out with its articulate depth and a substantial presence, enhancing the viewing experience without the need for conventional effects. This track exhibits excellent bass management and a clear top-end, ensuring an audio experience devoid of hiss or distortion, well-tailored to the nuances of a silent film narrative. The layering and spatial separation across the speakers contribute to an immersive atmosphere, closely aligning with the visual surrealism of the film.

    The new 2019 score introduces a more percussive quality to the film, offering a slightly different, yet expressive auditory rendition that complements the film's iconic visuals with reasonable layering and atmospheric depth. Despite its contemporary feel and decent stereo imaging, it may not produce as striking dynamic contrasts as one might expect, yet it serves as a refreshing alternative to the more traditional score. However, the consensus among audiophiles might lean towards the 2014 score for its vibrant life, especially when experienced in the 5.1 surround setting which seems to breathe more life into the enigmatic world of Dr. Caligari.

    Each track, including Cornelius Schwer’s compositions available in both stereo and surround options, maintains a pristine clarity imperative for accompanying a silent film. The choice between them offers viewers an opportunity to tailor their auditory experience to their preference, whether they seek an enveloping surround sound or a more straightforward stereo presentation. English subtitles are provided for the German intertitles, enhancing accessibility without detracting from the visual experience, boasting a proper size, timing, and grammar that complement the film’s artistic essence.

    Extra: 91

    The 4K UHD Blu-ray presentation of "The Cabinet of Dr. Caligari" by Eureka delivers an impressive array of extras that not only enhance the viewing experience but also deepen the understanding of this seminal film. With two engaging audio commentaries, one by film historian David Kalat and another by critics Kevin Lyons and Jonathan Rigby, viewers are treated to in-depth discussions ranging from the film’s production history to its genre identity and visual style. The inclusion of "The Asylum in Film" by Kim Newman and "You Must Become Caligari" by David Cairns offers fascinating insights into the film's themes and its unique visual aesthetics. Moreover, "Caligari: The Birth of Horror in the First World War," a nearly hour-long German documentary with English subtitles, provides a compelling examination of the film’s socio-political context and its impact on German cinema. The package is rounded off with a promotional piece on the 4K restoration process, a re-release trailer, and a comprehensive 100-page book filled with archival writings and rare imagery, making it an essential collection for cinephiles.

    Extras included in this disc:

    • Audio Commentary by David Kalat: Insights from the film historian.
    • Audio Commentary by Kevin Lyons and Jonathan Rigby: A dynamic exploration of the film's details.
    • The Asylum in Film: Kim Newman's analysis of asylum representations in horror.
    • You Must Become Caligari: David Cairns' video essay on production history and style.
    • Caligari: The Birth of Horror in the First World War: Documentary on the film's context and impact.
    • On the Restoration: A look at the 4K restoration process.
    • Re-Release Trailer: Previewing the 4K restoration.
    • Limited Edition Book: Featuring essays, reviews, and rare images.

    Movie: 94

    The Cabinet of Dr. Caligari," Robert Wiene's quintessential masterpiece of German Expressionism, rendered in stunning clarity on this 4K UHD Blu-ray, further cements its legendary status in cinema history. Crafted in 1920, this film's presentation on 4K beautifully accentuates its groundbreaking visual style and atmospheric depth, transporting viewers into its nightmarishly jagged landscape. The story, a complex weave of horror, mystery, and psychological intrigue, explores the unnerving tale of Dr. Caligari (Werner Krauss) and his somnambulist, Cesare (Conrad Veidt), whose presence at a local fair in a small German town heralds a series of unsettling events. Through its innovative narrative structure, split into six acts, the film oscillates between reality and fantasy, leaving viewers to grapple with its intricate plot twists and the authenticity of its depicted horrors.

    A cradle for the horror genre, "The Cabinet of Dr. Caligari" laid the groundwork for both artistic and commercial filmmaking practices, bridging elite and mainstream audiences—a concept that continues to provoke discussion about its placement in contemporary genres. This release does justice to its legacy, offering fans and newcomers alike a chance to experience the film's eerie allure and psychological depth enhanced by the 4K restoration. The sinister atmosphere, heightened by the film's expressionist sets and lighting, transforms each frame into a haunting tableau that lingers long after the story concludes.

    Eureka Entertainment's meticulous restoration, accompanied by a wealth of supplemental features including new audio commentary and critical essays, enriches the viewing experience, providing extensive context about the film's production and its pivotal role in cinema. The edition's presentation is as thoughtfully curated as its content, with collector-friendly packaging that complements the film's artistry. This 4K release not only preserves but revitalizes "The Cabinet of Dr. Caligari's" phenomenal impact, ensuring that its nightmarish vision and thematic richness continue to resonate with audiences and influence filmmakers worldwide.

    Total: 92

    In the realm of cinema, few films carry the historical and artistic significance of "The Cabinet of Dr. Caligari." This film not only marks the dawn of horror but also serves as a cornerstone of the German expressionism movement, profoundly influencing global cinema. Its compelling narrative revolves around a sinister doctor, his sleepwalking accomplice, and a series of chilling murders, all wrapped in a visually surreal and psychologically intense package that welcomes endless interpretations. Eureka Entertainment's 4K UHD release of this masterpiece stands as a testament to its lasting impact, offering an unprecedented visual clarity that brings out the intricate details, grayscale nuances, and the meticulous damage removal efforts. Accompanied by a choice of two scores in both stereo and 5.1 surround sound options, this release enhances the viewing experience further, supplemented by an insightful selection of extras that delve into the film's creation and thematic depth.

    The 4K restoration is a genuine revelation for collectors and cinephiles alike, presenting "The Cabinet of Dr. Caligari" in a quality previously unattainable in theater settings, let alone earlier home video formats. This breakthrough underscores the incredible advancements in film restoration and distribution, turning what was once deemed "crazy talk" during the LD and VHS era into a tangible reality. Eureka Entertainment's commitment to delivering such historically significant content in the highest possible quality makes this edition not just infinitely watchable but also an essential upgrade for those who already own previous releases.

    Conclusively, Eureka Entertainment's 4K UHD release of "The Cabinet of Dr. Caligari" is a monumental achievement that marries historical cinema significance with cutting-edge restoration technology. It is a prized possession for collectors, offering not just a film but an immersive journey into the heart of cinematic horror and expressionism. With unparalleled visual and auditory fidelity, enriched by compelling bonus content, this release is not only highly recommended but stands as a must-own for cinephiles eager to witness the evolution of film preservation and appreciation.