The Art of the Moving Picture
Meanwhile it is a marvellous illustration of the meaning of this chapter and the chapter on Fairy Splendor, though it is a diabolical not a beneficent vitality that is given to inanimate things. The furniture, trappings, and inventions are in motion to express the haunted mind, as in Griffith's Avenging Conscience, described pages 121 through 132. The two should be shown together in the same afternoon, in the Art Museum study rooms. Caligari is undoubtedly the most important imported film since that work of D'Annunzio, Cabiria, described pages 55 through 57. But it is the opposite type of film. Cabiria is all out-doors and splendor on the Mediterranean scale. In general, imported films do not concern Americans, for we have now a vast range of technique. All we lack is the sense to use it.
The cabinet of Caligari is indeed a cabinet, and the feeling of being in a cell, and smothered by all the oppressions of a weary mind, does not desert the spectator for a minute.