The Silver Emulsion Podcast: Ep. 106 – The Thief of Bagdad

This week on the Silver Emulsion Podcast, Stephen and I talk about one of my favorite films as a kid: the 1940 fantasy The Thief of Bagdad! Listen and enjoy! 🙂

Watch The Thief of Bagdad along with us on the old MGM DVD or the newer, but still old Criterion DVD!

Also: the show is on iTunes! So if you feel like subscribing there, or rating/reviewing the show, feel free to share your thoughts!

Music Notes


  • Seun Kuti & Egypt 80 – Mr. Big Thief


  • The Squires – The Sultan
    • Neil Young Archives Volume I (1963 – 1972) (iTunes, Amazon)

If you’ve got feedback, throw it into the comments below or email it to me via the contact page! We’ll include it in a future show!

The podcast is embedded directly below this, or you can go directly to Podbean (or use their app) to listen. If you want to subscribe, paste into whatever reader you’re using.

The Cabinet of Dr. Caligari (1920)

cabinetofdrcaligari_5The Cabinet of Dr. Caligari [Das Cabinet Des Dr. Caligari] (1920)

Starring Werner Krauss, Conrad Veidt, Friedrich Feher, Lil Dagover, Hans Heinrich von Twardowski, Rudolf Lettinger

Directed by Robert Wiene

Expectations: Very high. I’ve seen pieces of this many times.


The film begins with an older, visibly shaken man telling a younger man about how the spirits all around have driven him out of his home. A wide-eyed women dressed in a flowing white gown emerges in the background and slowly walks up to and past the men without stopping or looking their way. My first thought was that this was a ghost, a representation of what the older man was talking about. But then the younger man says, “That is my fiancee. What she and I have lived through is stranger still than what you have lived through…” So this girl with the blank stare isn’t a ghost, huh? Oh… well, I guess we’re in for a wild story then!

And it’s a story that doesn’t disappoint. That’s not to say everyone will naturally gravitate towards this one, but if you’re at all interested in the foundation of the horror genre or classic film in general, this is a must see. As one of the premiere examples of the German Expressionist film movement, The Cabinet of Dr. Caligari holds many wonderful delights, most notably in its set design. Instead of looking normal, everything is skewed and distorted. I don’t know what the traditional interpretation of this is, but my take on it is that because our main character is telling us his story — one of unforgettable peril and terror — his memories of it aren’t exactly perfect. Or maybe we’re seeing the story by venturing inside his head and living inside his fractured memories. Or, better yet, perhaps we’re seeing the story through the imagination of the older man who’s hearing it, creating the visuals in his head from the twisted details given to him by our main character. Whatever it is or was supposed to be, the sets create a fantasy landscape that continues to inspire and influence filmmakers today.

Continue reading The Cabinet of Dr. Caligari (1920) →

Subscribe via Email!

Enter your email address to subscribe to this blog and receive notifications of new posts by email.

Join 1,606 other subscribers

Ongoing Series

Top Posts & Pages

Shaw Brothers Martial Arts Films
The Ghost Story (1979)
Top 10 1976--1977 Shaw Brothers Martial Arts Films
All Men Are Brothers (1975)
The Films of Jackie Chan
The Enchanting Ghost (1970)
Blood Money (1975)
The Sword of Swords (1968)