Cover art by J Roth

In the early 2000s, J Roth became intrigued by the idea of composing a new soundtrack for a silent-era film. After viewing dozens of candidates, he stumbled upon the 1919 German classic: “The Cabinet of Dr. Caligari”. Not only did the film inspire a trove of musical ideas, it also gave J the novel idea of writing a script that filled in all the lines the actors were silently speaking. Enlisting his radio drama troupe, The Erstwhilists, they presented the film with live music, sound effects (including theremin), and actors overdubbing all the lines.

Jane, Alan, and Francis

Listen to a live performance. Synchronize the audio with the silent film by starting it after the opening credits of the film at the 0:40* mark:

The Cabinet of Dr. Caligari
(with vocal actors, SFX, and music)

Listen to the piano soundtrack only, synchronizing it with the film by starting it at the 0:00* mark of the film:

The Cabinet of Dr. Caligari
(piano soundtrack only)

*Note: the film’s original running time is 69 minutes. The versions J’s soundtrack/script synchronizes with are the sped-up versions, running approximately 51 minutes.

Cast & Crew (featured in the recording)
Alex West as Francis
Jeffry Nordin as Dr. Caligari
Christine Nordin as Jane, various others
John Knauss as Alan, Dr. Olsen, various others
J Roth as Head Clerk, Cesare, various others, piano
Paul Cameron on theremin and sound effects lists The Cabinet of Dr. Caligari in the top ten silent motion pictures of all time. See the full list at: