The Cabinet of Dr Caligari is almost unique among silent 'classics' in that nobody attributes its qualities to its director; Robert Wiene has never seemed more than a peripheral figure, and his later attempts to repeat his one-off success never won him any real reputation. He both directed and scripted this adaptation of Dostoevsky's Crime and Punishment, and seems to have had grandiose artistic ambitions for the project, drawing his cast from Stanislavsky's Moscow Art Theatre, and commissioning 'expressionist' sets from Andrei Andreiev. The result poses fascinating questions. Was the disjunction between the naturalistic acting and the artificial decor deliberate, or simply inept? And was the 'expressionism' (the sets and a scattering of dream sequences) an attempt to visualise the moral/theological dimension of the novel, or simply a matter of fashion? There are no ready answers, but the film certainly sustains the questions.