The titular villain of this silent-film classic works as a hypnotist in a traveling carnival — he entertains crowds by having his somnambulistic assistant answer any question. Francis, the film’s narrator, suspects there’s a link between this sneaky fellow and a series of grisly murders. When the police ignore his warnings, Francis does some more investigating and discovers that “Dr. Caligari” is, in fact, the director of the local insane asylum and has been recreating a string of killings carried out centuries before by a murderous monk. The performances in the movie, including Werner Krauss’ as the deranged doctor, are as good as any others from this era. But they are secondary to director Robert Weine’s extraordinary visual presentation — with unsettling painted backdrops and bizarre lighting and camera angles — which practically defined German Expressionism in cinema. Memorable too, is the film’s ending: a terrific twist every bit as clever as any dreamed up by M. Night Shyamalan.
The Doctor Is In
- Dr. Hannibal Lecter, The Silence of the Lambs
- Sean Maguire, Good Will Hunting
- Dr. Caligari, The Cabinet of Dr. Caligari
- Dr. Malcolm Crowe, The Sixth Sense
- Dr. Tyrone Berger, Ordinary People
- Dr. Ben Sobel, Analyze This
- Dr. Sam Loomis, Halloween
- Dr. Eudora Fletcher, Zelig
- Dr. Constance Peterson, Spellbound
- Dr. Leo Marvin, What About Bob?