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The Masterworks of the German Horror Cinema

Elite Entertainment's new two-disc The Masterworks of the German Horror Cinema is a great idea, but far from a masterwork itself. This collection of three great silent fright classics, Nosferatu (1922), The Cabinet of Dr. Caligari (1921) and Der Golem (1920) has been prepared with a lack of care and such dubious marketing that serious collectors may be rightfully outraged. Despite the quality of the individual films involved, this set falls seriously short of collectors' standards, especially at collectors' prices. All three films are significantly shorter than Elite's marketing materials -- as well as most on-line retailers -- claim, each running around an hour long. Although this is your only chance to see the fine Der Golem on disc, it should be noted that far more definitive versions of Nosferatu and Caligari were released on DVD by Image in 1997. All films are presented in 1.33:1, but often the image extends beyond the edges of the TV screen. Each film is accompanied by a small video-scrapbook of related art and stills, and the set also includes a brief but inconsequential clip from Genuine, another German vampire film from 1920. Keep case.

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