When Glynis Johns’ car breaks down, she seeks help at the mansion run by Dr. Caligari (Dan O’Herlihy), who promptly makes her prisoner. He won’t let her leave, he says, until she tells him everything about her most intimate life. All of the other guests at the house won’t help her, and everyone has a tendency to speak in riddles. Our heroine descends deeper and deeper into a nightmarish psychological trap.
Not a remakes, as such, of The Cabinet of Dr. Caligari, this does owe…some set design and thematic concerns to the 1919 classic. The answer to what, exactly, is going on in this house is pretty obvious right from the get-go, and the problem is that it isn’t clear if we’re supposed to be in on the mystery or not. Either way, the arch dialogue and literalized metaphors are plenty of fun, and the cinematography is sumptuous.
There are English 2.0 stereo and mono options here. The stereo is clean and undistorted, but there is that perennial problem of surround dialogue. It isn’t, however, too intrusive, and the track is satisfyingly rich in tone.
Fullscreen and 2.35:1 anamorphic widescreen options are here. Avoid the fullscreen, as it will completely destroy the wonderfully crafted compositions, many of which have Johns and O’Herlihy facing each other from opposite ends of the screen. The print is terrific: there is one slightly grainy shot, but otherwise there is no grain at all. The blacks (of which there are a great many) are absolutely perfect, and the image is very sharp. There is sometimes a little bit of flicker, but generally this is a first-rate transfer.
The trailer and some recommendations. Nothing else. The menu is basic.
At the level of script, this is something of an ambitious failure, but it is a fascinating one, and has plenty of gorgeous eye candy.
Special Features List
- Theatrical Trailer