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marioscido
10-21-2002, 11:24 PM
I finally received my Kino version of "The Cabinet of Dr. Caligari" today :D. I haven't screened the whole thing yet, but I must say that I am almost speechless with respect to its visual quality. It looks tremendous!! The toning and tinting is just gorgeous and the musical scores are equally impressive.

No question here: a must for silent horror fiends like myself. The Elite version is a joke compared to this one!!

mcchrist
10-22-2002, 12:05 AM
yeah, the elite one looks like ass, I think it was from a 16mm print just like the Golem, (considering that was the only way to get Golem, that's the only reason why i bought Masterworks in the first place). I never did get the Image DVD, has anyone compared it to the Kino disc yet? I think the Image disc has a commentary ala Nosferatu (image). I'm in no hurry to buy either, historically Caligari is important and all but its not something I would watch everyday, maybe with a commentary however. I must get the new Golem disc, however.

marioscido
10-22-2002, 06:41 PM
That's why I bought the Masterworks edition as well. Also, the folks at the Silent Film web site recommended the Elite "Nosferatu" over the Image version. I had seen the first Image "Nosferatu" and was really disappointed. The second Image is supposed to be a little better looking.

Now, I'm curious to see what the Kino version looks like. One review of it states that the Kino "Nosferatu" is the only version to properly frame the scene where Orlock stiffly rises out of his coffin on the boat. All other dvd editions severely cut Orlock's head off. That's enough reason to buy it. The "Nosferatu" print will never look as good as say "Haxan" (great job Criterion), because of its litigation history - unless a pristine print is discovered in some closet somewhere.

However, there are apparently some very nice prints of the "Golem" around, and the dvd transfers do not reflect the quality of some of these prints. I guess we'll have to wait and see if someone can find some money to restore "The Golem." In these times of neo-liberalism, European governments are not spending as much money on the arts as they did in the past. They're too busy following orders from abroad and focusing their budgets on military spending. :mad:

The Kino disc is the best looking "Caligari" I've seen on dvd so far. The commentary track on the first Image "Nosferatu" is quite horrendous... If I remember clearly, it's old-style psychoanalytic film criticism heavily dependent on Freudian thought. It felt like I was back in the 1970s when I first heard it. It was a good laugh though... "Here is Greta Schröder playing with a cat. The cat is, of course, a symbol of her sexual repression..." Please!

Give me a healthy 35 mm print, that has been recently restored, and a proper transfer with careful attention to original aspect rations, and I am happy. The rest is just candy. Although I did like the commentary on Criterion's "The Passion of Joan of Arc."

mcchrist
10-23-2002, 12:29 AM
The Kino disc is the best looking "Caligari" I've seen on dvd so far. The commentary track on the first Image "Nosferatu" is quite horrendous... If I remember clearly, it's old-style psychoanalytic film criticism heavily dependent on Freudian thought. It felt like I was back in the 1970s when I first heard it. It was a good laugh though... "Here is Greta Schröder playing with a cat. The cat is, of course, a symbol of her sexual repression..." Please!

I love the Nosferatu commentary! The audio essay was illuminating the concerns brought about through metaphor in the German Expressionist era. Alot of reconstruction of history went into it, and was a companion, somewhat, to Kracauer's From Caligari to Hitler Out of all audio commentaries, the one for the Image Nosferatu is essential. Also out of all the commentaries, Nosferatu is my most watched!

marioscido
10-23-2002, 08:03 AM
I guess we differ radically on this point mcchrist. I think Lokke Heiss' commentary is rather uninspiring, and as I said in my other post, his rigid Freudian framework makes his analysis a little reductionistic.

It's interesting that you mention Siegfried Kracauer, because I'm not a big fan of his writings either! Kracauer was also working within a Freudian framework, and he espoused the mass-culture theory of the Frankfurt School in "From Caligari to Hitler," especially as elaborated in the work of Adorno and Horkheimer. Although his work is immensely important for the history of German Expressionism, it basically argues that films, such as "Caligari," "Nosferatu," and "The Student of Prague," glorified authority and undercut autonomous resistance to the Nazis. In other words, Kracauer argued, in 1947, that these films supposedly encouraged a mass desire for authoritarian leadership in Germany, which opened the doors to the Nazis. I disagree with this conservative reading of German Expressionism and Kracauer has been heavily critiqued for it in more recent film theory.

I don't think the masses are just alienated zombies passivity accepting the lies and propaganda on the culture industry. That would mean that all those arguments about the harmful effects of screen horror were true. One can easily discern in the "video nasties" discourses of the 1980s for example, the early influence of Kracauer and other mass-culture theorists. Basically, they believed that the masses who went to these movies were easily manipulated by the forces of ideology...

mcchrist
10-23-2002, 08:16 AM
I kind of agree with Kracauer, I don't agree with his major points, but I do love films being criticized in this manner. Same goes with the Nosferatu commentary, I do not agree with the majority of what was said, but I thought it was an interesting analysis. And yes it was rigid, after all it was an "audio essay", not commentary.

Even though I disagree with the criticism's above, I used the criticisms as method for my short film. Kracauer and Heiss' points were that it was the outcry of the subconcious. My film is conciously using the same theory (not towards fascism, my film is an excercise in popular culture). Just thought you'd find it interesting. ;)

Not entirely successful, but it turned out ok.

marioscido
10-23-2002, 09:15 AM
Your films sound interesting!

Yes, there is some truth in the mass-culture theory argument. They are powerful arguments that ring true in lots of contexts, especially if your experience has been Nazi propaganda - as in Kracauer's case; it's just that it's not so simple. One simply needs to look around and witness the power of advertising in our cultures to understand the importance of such critiques. But again, audiences also critically and creatively engage with media and other forms of ideology. Horror is a great example of a cinematic genre where audiences have historically engaged with onscreen material in complex ways.

I hope you are working on new film material! Good luck with it.