Bradshaw Watch omnibus – ‘The Cabinet of Dr Caligari’ (1920), ‘M’ (1931) and ‘The Wizard of Oz review’ (1939)

Peter Bradshaw recently saw three classic films at the BFI’s facilities on the Southbank, which he enjoyed enough to award the re-releases five stars each. In case you don’t have time to read his reviews of them in The Guardian – none of which exceeds 300 words – here are his total insights, minus bluntly-stated plot details he could have copy-pasted from Wikipedia:

‘The Cabinet of Dr Caligari’ (1920)

– It is a silent movie

– It was [directed] by Robert Wiene

– It has been re-released in cinemas

– It has “expressionist sets” and contains both “gurning” and “distorted perspective” – all or some of which reminded Peter of Bram Stoker’s novel Dracula. That novel was published in 1897.

– “Werner Krauss plays Dr Caligari”

– The film also stars Conrad Veidt, who later played Major Strasser in Casablanca (and possibly other roles, though none are listed here)

‘M’ (1931)

– The “M” of the title may stand for “murder,” Peter speculates. He also points out that in German, it is not “murder” but “mörder”

– This film has also been re-released in cinemas

– Peter Lorre plays the serial killer

– Otto Wernicke plays the policeman

– Gustaf Gründgens plays the criminal boss

– The film reminded Peter of Alfred Hitchcock’s film The Lodger, which was made in 1927

– The film also reminded Peter a bit of one or all of the Ealing comedies

– Lots of people in the film smoke – cigars, pipes, and cigarettes – which Peter says is “as if smoke is the endless industrial byproduct of the city’s folly, greed and shame,” and then the review ends.

‘The Wizard of Oz review’ (1939)

– The film is “proto-psychedelic”

– Peter believes the film helped “to prepare Americans psychologically for their decisive intervention” in World War II. No explanation is given of this

– The film has been rereleased “on giant Imax screens and in 3D”

– The film switches “from monochrome to colour” at some point

– Peter believes that the film’s message is “there’s no place like home,” though he does not reveal how he came to this conclusion

– The film “is really funny,” Peter says. No explanation is given of this

– Bert Lahr plays the cowardly Lion, and in one scene Judy Garland (whose character Peter does not name) almost ‘corpses’ at his comic routine.

DO NOT BE FOOLED. IF YOU THINK YOU HAVE BEEN EXPOSED TO COUNTERFEIT FILM CRITICISM, CONTACT YOUR LOCAL POLICE STATION – OR LEAVE A TESTIMONIAL ON FLICKBOOK.WORDPRESS.COM

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