Definitely one-of-a-kind, Robert Wiene's 1919 The Cabinet of Dr. Caligari has always been listed near the top of filmdom's finest. At its release, Caligari was so bizarre in its expressionism that it scared off all competition. (Not many filmmakers wanted to tackle the angled doorways, cockeyed rooftops and painted Cubist shadows on the floor.) The glories of the movie, though, belong to German actor Conrad Veidt as Cesare, the somnambulist who does the murderous bidding of evil Dr. Caligari (Werner Krauss). Lean and neurasthenic, he's as otherworldly as the skewed sets, like something out of a fever dream. (Veidt was later successfully imported to Hollywood for The Man Who Laughs, Thief of Baghdad and Casablanca.) Though not successful when released in the U.S. in 1921 - the Los Angeles engagement was canceled due to anti-German protest - Caligari undeniably proved that "the movies" could be an art form. 8:30 p.m. Domy Books, 1709 Westheimer. For information, call 713-523-3669 or visit www.domystore.com. Free.
Thu., Oct. 1, 8:30 p.m., 2009