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Der Golem, wie er in die Welt kam
Year:
1920
Country:
Germany
Genre:
Fantasy, Horror
IMDB rating:
7.3
Director:
Carl Boese, Paul Wegener
Ernst Deutsch as Der Rabbi Famulus
Greta Schröder as Ein Mägdelein mit der Rose / Little Girl with Rose
Loni Nest as Ein kleines Mädchen / Little Girl
Dore Paetzold as Des Kaisers Kebse
Max Kronert as Der Tempeldiener / Temple Servant
Albert Steinrück as Der Rabbi Löw / Rabbi Loew
Lyda Salmonova as Miriam, des Rabbi Tochter
Otto Gebühr as Der Kaiser / Emperor Luhois
Hans Stürm as Der Rabbi Jehuda, der Älteste der Gemeinde (as Hanns Sturm)
Storyline: In 16th-century Prague, a Jewish rabbi creates a giant creature from clay, called the Golem, and using sorcery, brings the creature to life in order to protect the Jews of Prague from persecution.
Type Resolution File Size Codec Bitrate Format
HQ DVD-rip 720x576 px 1006 Mb h264 (High) 1657 Kbps mkv Download
Reviews
A nice film with a pretty decent recent restoration
THE GOLEM is actually the third Golem film that starred Paul Wegener as the mythical character. The first film, THE GOLEM (1915), only currently exists in fragments and the second one, THE GOLEM AND THE DANCING GIRL (1917) is completely lost. The film most people call "The Golem" is this 1920 version and it's more correct title is "THE GOLEM: HOW HE CAME INTO THE WORLD". Wegener not only starred in the films but he wrote and co-directed them as well! The film is a tale based on a Jewish myth about a man-made creature that came to life in the 16th century to defend the Jews from persecution. This film stays pretty close to that legend and there have been other Golem films since.

The story begins with a royal edict being announced. It says that all Jews are to leave the land. However, the Rabbi is liked by the emperor and so the Rabbi hatches a plan. First, he'll build a Golem out of clay and animate it. Then, he'll take it with him to see the emperor--and threaten to use the Golem unless the edict is canceled. Well, the plan works out very well and the edict is reversed. However, given that the rabbi used the forces of darkness to make the beast, there is a strong chance this "blessing" will become a curse, so he's quick to deactivate the creature. Stupidly, his assistant, in a fit of rage, reactivates it and the creature runs amok--burning and killing pointlessly.

The story gets high marks for creating an excellent and menacing monster--years before Universal created what we now think of as horror monsters. The story is also excellent--especially for the silent age. The only negative is that the story ends very abruptly and there just isn't enough payoff at the end. Once they lose control of the monster and it goes off terrorizing the countryside, it all ends with a bit of a fizzle. Still, for 1920, it's a heck of a good film.

By the way, seeing this film come out just before the Nazi era is interesting. It could mean that Germans were more accepting of Jews and Jewish themes (since the film is about the persecution of them) but I also wonder if the Gentiles took it to be a warning about the Jews--as it shows them dabbling into the occult and being a bit of a menace! So here we have a film that could be pro-Jewish or ant-Semetic depending on the audience! I wonder what the German government in 1933 did about this film--did they ban it or use it to promote the myth of the "evil Jew"?

For an interesting look at the life of Paul Wegener, try this site--http://www.missinglinkclassichorror.co.uk/wegener.htm.

Also, if you look on IMDb for information about the first Golem movie, it seems that many have confused this for the 1920 film--this should account for why the film has so many votes even though only a few minutes of film exists today.
2008-07-26
An Essential Viewing - Don't Speak or Laugh if You Value Your Lives!
While Paul Wegener's The Golem may not rank with The Cabinet of Dr. Caligari or Nosferatu with its significance, artistic splendour, and innovative highlights, it does nonetheless serve as one of the shining spotlights of silent films and in particular "horror" silent films. Oozing German expressionistic techniques throughout, director Wegener offers us a story of a Jewish ghetto in Prague being condemned for exile by a new decree from the emperor. This comes shortly after Rabbi Loew has received from the stars a message that doom will come to his people. Loew immediately starts creating a golem - a figure of a giant man made from clay that legend says can be brought to life to protect Loew's people. The story moves from the incredibly fascinating ritual used to create and imbue the creature with life to a storyline of a Jewish girl Miriam in the temple falling in lust with Florian the emperor's messenger to the golem walking around doing everyday activities and becoming the servant of Rabbi Loew to the golem "terrorizing." The golem - Paul Wegener playing the part - is unique and imposing. Watch his eyes. They act out loads of emotions whilst the body and facial muscles barely move. The film has wonderful scenes throughout from the secret word being given to Loew to the film in film of what happened to Rabbi Loew's people and the fall of the palace to the flowery ending. The expressionistic acting is all very solid and Wegener's genius is obvious when you see what hats he wears in the film: actor and director. Camera work is done by Karl Freund who would go on to direct himself and come up with incredible innovations with camera-work. There is no doubt in my mind what role this film had in James Whale's collective conscience when he decided what his vision of Frankenstein would be. The Golem is a blueprint right down to the scene with the little girl and the flower. As to the whole Jewish question I see so many viewers engage in about whether the film is pro or con, there is no doubt the Jews are portrayed sympathetically in the film from their plight from Egypt in the memorable film in film scene to the sense of hollowness and dejection the actors give off. The German officials are portrayed as buffoons for the most part. There is also a negative result though that the black arts are connected with Jews. It is a Rabbi that is able to conjure the spirit of an ancient sorcerer. He controls an inanimate object used to destroy. These are somewhat contradictory and though I believe Wegener's efforts to be ultimately filled with good intent, I could see where a film like this could also fuel the most emboldened anti-Semites because it reinforces a terrible stereotype. I don't want to get too bogged down with the historical implications of the film as I do not know nearly enough about its impact to say anything with any real meaning with regard to that subject. What I will say is this: The Golem is one of the most influential films in the catalogue of silent films and its impact in direction and in the genre are obvious and cannot be overstated really. Every time you see a depiction of Frankenstein's Monster you see its impact.
2009-10-04
Adventures In Lo-Fi
Imagine shooting a feature-length horror movie with the camera built into your mobile phone. Now imagine disabling sound and colour on your phonecam, only being able to shoot a few seconds at a time, each minute costing a small fortune in recording material, imagine that phonecam being large and unwieldy and kind of knackered so that the already low-resolution image is flickery and erratically exposed, and it plays back too fast so that people look like wound-up dolls. It also exposes blueish light more than reddish light, so each shoot is unpredictable, but of course you'll only know that the next day when the film has been processed.

Welcome to movie-making in the year 1920 AD.

Now go shoot a masterpiece that will still be watched, talked about and revered in a hundred years.

I watched this out of historic interest and expected to be colossally bored. But far from it, this is actually a gripping horror flick, and one with a deep side to it to boot. The Golem himself is an immensely scary horror figure en par with Freddy Kruger or the Alien, kind of a proto-Frankenstein's monster -- and he's actually played by director Paul Wegener himself!. I'd like to know how they made his eyes so scary.

Anyway, what can I say, a stupendous film. Watch it from the edge of your seat.
2008-12-01
One of the great horror icons
The giant frame of Paul Wegener as the Golem is one of the best known characters from the silent era, and one of the first icons of horror. Der Golem is actually the third film to feature the character, the first being The Golem (1915), and the second The Golem And The Dancing Girl (1917), which is a short comedy with Wegener donning the costume to frighten a girl he is in love with. Tragically, those two films are now considered lost, and only fragments equalling about 14 minutes of the first film remain. This film is actually a prequel, and it's full title is Der Golem: Wie Er In Die Welt Kam (How He Came Into The World), but is now commonly know as simply Der Golem.

The Jews of medieval Prague face persecution from the townsfolk. Terrified of their doomed fate, Rabbi Loew (Albert Steinruck) uses his skills in black magic to create The Golem, a mythical figure from Jewish folklore. He is made entirely from clay, and has an amulet in his chest that gives him power, and when removed turns him back into lifeless clay. He is initially used as a servant, and then to terrify the townsfolk who are threatening them. The Golem eventually gets tired of being used as a tool of fear and begins to turn on his creator, and starts to lay waste to the Ghetto.

Like the majority of films made in Weimar Germany, the film has an expressionist tone, with lavish, artistic sets that dominate the frame. Similar in feel to the great Das Cabinet Des Dr. Caligari, it is however more subtle in its artistic flair, and lacks Caligari's rickety (although wonderful in its own way) sets. It is also quite terrifying in its realisation of a segregation that would occur in the country only a decade later, although it does portray the Jews as vengeful and as studying the dark arts.

The Golem itself is a great movie monster. Tragic in the same way as Frankenstein's monster, he is brought into the world without having asked to be, and is expected to carry out terrible acts against his will. Paul Wagener portrays him with all silent intensity and uncontrollable rage, with his towering frame sending his enemies running for the hills. He also impressively co-wrote and co-directed the film. This is an enjoyable film that breezes by in its rather slight running time, and can be forgiven for some over-acting and the occasional tedious scene. It also has some interesting social comments, and is a frightening prelude to one of the most horrific periods in Europe's history.

www.the-wrath-of-blog.blogspot.com
2011-06-09
3-D version...
Most of what we see here we saw first in DER GOLEM, the initial entry in this series ("History's first horror series!"). That's not a criticism, per se, just an observation. The true marvel of this movie (aside from the Golem himself, of course) is the fidelity to the illustrations in the book: the sets are literally three-dimensional representations of the artwork therein. For those who feel that the tale here told is almost prescient, consider this cold, hard fact: the Nachtmare to come might not have occurred at all without the anti-semitism festering in this country during the early part of the 20th century. I refer those interested to the book THE NAZI NEXUS. As for this movie, see it for the stunning sets if nothing else.
2009-06-21
Visually interesting tale
Having just finished watching The Cabinet of Dr. Caligari yesterday, I have noticed some similarities in style between that one and The Golm. The Golem shares with that film a strong use of contrast in shades of black and white, and dream like sets, though it differs in that although still surreal, The Cabinet of Dr. Caligari's sets were much more obviously unreal and uneasy. The Golem doesn't use the same exaggerated off angles and the fun house effect that Caligari had. Nevertheless, some interesting and creative camera work and some still spectacular sets help to create a wonderfully horrific backdrop for the story. Some images are so perfect and fitting they just are fixed in the viewer's mind-such as the black cat running across the rooftop near the beginning of the film. This film has a "grander" feel to its sets than The Cabinet of Dr. Caligari did, which seems appropriate for its plot.

Based on a Jewish folktale, I'm told, the Golem tells the story of a sorcerer rabbi who brings his creation of a clay Golem to life with the good intention of saving his people from their persecutors. Of course, things go wrong and creature is used to evil purpose. In many ways, this story has a lot in common with Whale's Frankenstein and seems to, at least on the surface, tell a similar moral tale-that even for good reasons, man should not try to play god. But it is also a warning against greed and corruption, at least so it seems to me. There is romance and unrequited love, mayhem, magic and monsters.

Definitely a pleasure for those who like surreal, silent fantasy-horror films as I do.
2008-10-30
The Lexicon of Expressionism and Horror Have a Place in "Der Golem"
I have watched this 2 times; I got the Eureka DVD a few months ago. I decided to reinstate my thoughts about it today, as I did know it was a pretty good movie at first viewing, but I wanted to study what made it so good

The story is relayed in 5 chapters; all of those can consist of intermissions.

The first chapter is where Rabbi Low is reading books on how to emanate the Golem; they also tried to go to the revered Rabbi so that he can represent the Jewish Community, so all ready there is a Jewish Tone to the work. He looks through books of necromancers.

The Second Chapter: He tries to call it without any caveat. He does interact with it now, although foreboding in the beginning, he is subservient to his master and obeys him at every lead. Even doing errands it can be deadly.

Third Chapter: They go to the emperors place, and the Golem saves him from his temple being eroded; he was there to accompany him while they stare into another place which looks like Metropolis (1927) in the scene where Maria is preaching the construction of the Babel. One of the female character also bribed the guards.

Fourth Chapter: The Golem becomes deceitful and disobeying; one of the counterproductive results to happen to it

Fifth Chapter: Golem opens the Gate.

Albeit nobody is in a foray but rest assured, trouble was already going to be imminent; he protects them temporarily and then it all breaks loose - sort of James Whale's tantamount with Karloff's Frankenstein - a lonely, innocuous creature in a bad state, and always in trouble even though he's a delicate soul.

"Der Golem" was directed by Paul Weigner, who also plays the Golem. It does take time for him to be active, so throughout the first 33 minutes the foreground is taken by one of the scenes with a cat on a roof and the stars which already show The Golem, but this is the construction of him it centres on.

The painted backgrounds must have been laborious work and it pays off; this is not as expressionistic as "The Cabinet of Dr Caligari" but it has the paradigm of expressionism filtered through the clinical feel to the house and the painstakingly subjective feel that you have to embrace in the village of expressionism - it's small but welcoming and distorted. Ornate and exquisite; the face of the Golem is so emotive that when he smells the flower, he genuinely seems curious about it, when he picks up the little Girl, we wonder whether or not he was going to kill her or embrace her; its deliberate dithering still makes you wonder and we never get to know anyway

In the bit where he turns on his master in an unprecedented and unexpected way, the face tells us, not the words.

Abaroth's book is the liveliness of Golem; the amulet powers the Golem, so it's pretty easy to dismantle him, but it's so hard to tame him. He is, by definition in horror, the indestructible and this movie gives you the sorcery element with the green tint for the house and even little niceties like red for the fire, which should represent it, but fails, and yet it still constitutes to that sense of fantastical worlds.

Golem is to be kept a secret; when I seen that, I was like "No way - you can't hide that thing - it will not conform" and of course, it didn't. But the way it grinds you into believing this, always throws it in your other direction, as he veers from unsympathetic to really sympathetic.

The romance element in the movie is sort of superficial but overall not bad.

It's a great, great, great film and it's definitely one of the best movies ever made.
2011-06-24
The Golem is one of the greatest films of all Time
The moment I first saw this film I knew it was a classic. The visuals are excellent. The story is old as time. The basic story is the country their in, Prague I think, wants to evict the Hebrews out. Anti semitism was unfortunately a way of life back then. Using force if necessary. But of course they don't want to leave. Desperate for a solution, they call upon some dark forces to bring up the golem. But things go awry and they are soon protecting themselves from their protector. It's a classic creation turning against the creator story. If you can find the kino versio of the DVD, buy it. you'll be better off. The visuals are a good portion of why this is a good film. Nosferatu and Cabinet of Dr. caligari usually take all the credit for German expressionism, but this more than holds up to those films.
2009-02-01
Playing God
"The Golem: How He Came Into the World" is one of the best and earliest German silent films often categorized under the umbrella of German expressionism. Paul Wegener had made a modern version of the Jewish legend in 1915 (which is lost, although some on IMDb have confused it with this 1920 film), and his 1913 version of "The Student of Prague" is an interesting, although statically filmed, early horror fantasy, which is also based in literature and set in Prague.

Inspired by Siegfried Kracauer ("From Carlgari to Hitler: A Psychological History of the German Film"), much of the writing on the subject of Weimar cinema has connected the films with Nazism and the rise of anti-Semitism, and many have discussed this film in that light, but that view has probably been taken far enough. "The Golem" is set in historical, although mythologized, past anti-Semitism, and Jewish mystical folklore--a much different situation than in the twentieth century. "The Golem" isn't anti-Semitic, anyhow.

In the film, Rabbi Loew reads in the stars that danger threatens his community. He subsequently gives life to the clay Golem, which is to serve him in reversing a decree that the Jews evacuate Prague. As others have mentioned, the Golem is a precursor of the creation of the robot in "Metropolis" (1927) (both films also contain a vision (moving pictures) scene projected by religious leaders) and of many of the scenes in "Frankenstein" (1931). Some have even speculated that Mary Shelley's original novel was largely inspired by the Golem stories. Moreover, the film is another in a strand of German films with fantastic and horrific themes based on literature and folklore.

"The Golem" is rather representative of its times as far as camera-work and editing, which is to say it's adequate and unremarkable. Being post-"Caligari", lighting is used somewhat effectively and the sets by Hans Poelzig, Kurt Richter and Edgar G. Ulmer (who notably worked on many of Fritz Lang's films) are amazing, but unique from those in "The Cabinet of Dr. Caligari" (1920) and other expressionistic films. There are, however, irregular contours, and things are askew, as in expressionism. The sets also reflect the narrative. Architecture made out of clay and a Golem out of clay. Yet, rather than coming from theatre as those in "Caligari", the sets in "The Golem" are Gothic and exploit clay wonderfully. And, it makes for a visually splendid film.
2005-10-04
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