Writing about Doctor Caligari’s cabinet, I discovered The Cabinet of Caligari, an American film in CinemaScope, but in black and white, produced and directed by Roger Kay in 1962, with a script by Robert Bloch, who had written the novel in which based Psycho.
His argument is conventional, a tire is punctured by the car of the protagonist who travels alone, while driving on a highway in the middle of nature and walking, casually arrives at an isolated house, where Dr. Caligari lives, from that moment, strange events will happen to him, because of the owner of the house and his guests, in the end it is verified that nothing is what it seems.
As can be seen, except the profession of the protagonist, both are psychiatrists, this film has no relationship with that directed by Wiene, as it does not have it visually, except for hallucinations suffered by the protagonist in which it seems to be within the German film.
As for the architecture, you can hardly see the exterior of the house, which looks like a conventional house, its interior has a configuration similar to the mansion of the architect Hjalmar Poelzig in Satan, with a large living room on the ground floor and a high floor where there are several bedrooms, while in this case, instead of a basement, a third floor is added where the doctor’s private office is, which is entered through a glazed and revolving door.
The living room has many furniture, mixing different styles and the most interesting is a bottomless library that serves to separate two rooms and, above all, the staircase that connects the ground floor with the upper one -as also happens in Satan-, which is metallic, very light, almost like the skeleton of an animal and with a stylized design, unrelated to the anodyne heaviness and darkness of the rest of the building.
The Cabinet of Caligari is not a bad movie and it is seen with pleasure, considering the fashion of “psychological” arguments of those decades, the most unfortunate is its title, because because of it, it has been compared with the German film, Although they are completely different. In short, a film to discover that can be analyzed architecturally, providing some surprise.
Jorge Gorostiza, PhD architect.
Santa Cruz de Tenerife, january 2019
Author of the blog Arquitectura+Cine+Ciudad
Doctor arquitecto, proyecta y construye edificios y desarrolla trabajos de urbanismo. Desde 1990, publica numerosos artículos sobre cine y arquitectura en medios de su localidad, revistas como Nosferatu, Nickleodeon, Academia, Lateral, Cahiers du Cinema… y en varios volúmenes colectivos. Entre el 2000 y el 2005 dirige la Filmoteca Canaria. Imparte conferencias sobre arquitectura y cine en instituciones como el CAAM en Gran Canaria, la UIMP, el CENDEAC en Murcia, INCUNA en Gijón, Fundación Telefónica, la ETS de Arquitectura y el CCCB de Barcelona, las ETS de Arquitectura de La Coruña, Sevilla, Valencia y SEU madrileña, La Ciudad de la Luz en Alicante, la UNED en Pamplona, en varios colegios de arquitectos, así como en las universidades del País Vasco, Gerona, Valladolid, Málaga, Granada, SEK en Segovia y CEES de Madrid. Jurado en varios festivales cinematográficos, como los de Alcalá de Henares (2001), San Sebastián (2002), Sitges (2003), Las Palmas (2005) y Documentamadrid (2005), y comisario de las exposiciones Constructores de quimeras. (Centro Conde Duque, Madrid, 1999) y La arquitectura de los sueños (Capilla del Oidor, Alcalá de Henares, 2001).
He publicado bastantes libros y muchos artículos, he impartido conferencias, he sido comisario de exposiciones y jurado en muchísmos festivales. Si quieren saber más no duden en consultar mi blog ARQUITECTURA + CINE + CIUDAD.