Part of “Caligari”’s unshakeable, eerie mood comes from the collaboration of three theatrical stage designers, Hermann Warm, Walter Reimann and Walter Rohrig, trying their hand for the first time at film design. From the film’s very inception, even before the real madness begins, clerks’ offices and city streets look designed by Dr. Seuss, undulating blocks of homes with triangular doors and absurdly peaked roofs. In the post-WWI era, electricity was strictly rationed, so gradations of dark and light were simply painted on backdrops in lieu of using lights to cast shadows. That use of design to convey psychology greatly influenced later German classics like “Metropolis,” “Nosferatu” and “M,” but also post-WWII American film noir, which used inky shadows and similarly ominous set design to reflect the cynicism and nihilism of the postwar era.
Music film fest includes ‘Cabinet of Dr. Caligari’ scored by DJ Spooky – Access Atlanta
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