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Larry Harnisch reflects on Los Angeles history

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Riot by Veterans Cancels Showing of ‘Caligari’

  May 5, 1921, Cabinet of Dr. Caligari  

  May 9, 1921, Cabinet of Dr. Caligari  

  May 8, 1921, German Films  

Oct. 5-9, 1921: A violent protest by the Hollywood post of the American Legion outside Miller’s Theater halts the exhibition of “The Cabinet of Dr. Caligari” after a few performances.

"The playhouse, which had started the picture early in the afternoon for a two week's run, capitulated only after it had been picketed for hours by hundreds of men in uniform and after the disturbance at its entrance had gone to such extremes that two mob rushes had been attempted, rotten eggs had been hurled and police and provost guard forces had been reinforced until they numbered 35 men," The Times said.

The theater restored calm by substituting “The Money Changers.”  “Caligari” didn’t return to Los Angeles until 1927 and by then tempers had cooled.

Anne Elisabeth Dillon has more on "Caligari" in "From the Vaults."


  The Times, May 1, 1921
  May 8, 1921, Cabinet of Dr. Caligari  
  The Times, May 8, 1921  

  May 8, 1921, German films
May 8, 1921, German filmes
  The Times, May 8, 1921  

  May 9, 1921, Money Changers
May 9, 1921, Money Changers
  The Times, May 9, 1921

June 24, 1927, Caligari
June 24, 1927, Caligari
  The Times, June 24, 1927  
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Comments (3)

What isn't mentioned in the above is the German technique of the time our thuggish censors in uniform were protecting us from: Dada, surrealism, anti-war and anarchistic.

Wow! In certain ways, it seems it's just like what's going on now, people scapegoating and villifying others because of economic and social problems. I know there was a major recession in 1920-1921, so it makes sense that the German is still the enemy. I guess these people have never heard of freedom of speech. And is the George Marshall listed the one who went on and became a film director himself?

Home grown Thought Police. Just like now.

Very prescient in another way. The print ad knows that 'Caligari's' technique will have a lasting effect on the art of film. The advertisement writer had a clear vision.


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