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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
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
A Good Example of German Expressionism
"The Golem" is the perfect companion piece for "The Cabinet of Dr. Caligari." Both are excellent examples of German expressionism.

Pay attention to the surrealist sets and lighting.

This is skilled film-making, and today's directors can well learn from classics such as these.

However, do not confuse this with an earlier film of the same title. That earlier film is considered lost.

The film inspired a few sequels, but I have never seen them. I read mixed reviews on those movies. Still they would be interesting to watch.
1999-06-09
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
David Jeffers for SIFFblog.com
Monday January 26, 7:00pm, The Paramount, Seattle

In sixteenth century Prague, the Emperor declares that all Jews will be banished from the city. A rabbi using magical powers creates a man made of earth to protect his people and summons a demon to give the ‘Golem’ (Paul Wegener) life. When the Emperor is saved by the creature, he rescinds his edict, but the Golem is abused by the rabbi’s assistant and embarks on a rampage of terror in the ghetto.

Told in the manner of a folk tale, The Golem: How He Came Into the World (1920) features an abundant use of complex lighting, dramatic composition and striking design elements with Gothic overtones. Remade from a story Wegener brought to the screen in 1914 which is now considered lost, The Golem was a recognizable influence on Hollywood, while it offered proof of his skill as a filmmaker and established Wegener’s role in the development of German Expressionism.
2009-02-11
Great characters
I watched it because the design and the story seemed to be nice, i wasn't disappointed about that. You can be sure when you watch this film, to see a beautiful golem and decorations. The others characters are also great, mostly Lyda Salmonova with her role of the Rabbi's daughter. I was also impressed by the soundtrack which fit nice with the pictures. The ending was pretty sad but it's how the movie finish and there were no alternative ending at this time. The directors aren't famous and "The Golem" is their only famous film, it's a bit sad because it's a nice movie. The theme of the Golem already have been done in cinema twice before this movie, an lost film released in 1915 and a comedy in 197 named "The Golem and the dancer".
2012-08-10
One of the most interesting masterpieces of the silent cinema
Given the enormously strong impression these silent movies are making on me, I would be tempted to conclude that the primeval form of cinema art, the silent art, was the superior one, and that what has been lost was vastly preferable to what has been gained by the sound. On the other hand, and speaking of this fantasy movie, the Golem is 'my creature theme', finding it in every way superior to 'mad scientists' creatures movies'.

DER GOLEM is awesomely crafted, and Paul Wegener's performance remains a hallmark for the fantasy cinema. Exciting, wise, thrilling, what a storyline …. In the silent cinema, they had a very positive notion of beauty, of what's beautiful on screen.

Karl Freund provided the sensational cinematography.

Movie entirely constituted by style. Sheer virtuosity. In a sense, GOLEM is better than FAUST, than BERLING and then ARNE; and, also in an accept-ion, more stylish than USHER and NOSFERATU. Am I nearing the affirmation that GOLEM might be the best of the silent fantasy movies? Perhaps yes. (I disliked CALIGARI; but those mentioned here are beautiful beyond comparison.)

How are the Jews depicted here? Well, not entirely positively; they are accused of black magic—which they actually practice. They are presented like a persecuted minority; but also like folks who indulge in black magic, who conjure demons, etc.. Not really the people of the Old Law, but of Babilonian magic.
2009-12-30
No nightmares, but a fine film
Having read less about The Golem before viewing it for the first time than I normally do when watching newly bought video, a few things struck me at once while watching it.

For one, the film is clearly one of the towering examples of German expressionism in the 1920s cinema. In fact, the surrealistic expressionism is possibly pushing the envelope here more than in any other German film of the decade. The buildings and landscapes are bizarre and the Jewish ghetto is as impossibly shaped as anything in Caligari or Nosferatu. It almost looks like a giant mud-dobber nest instead of a walled community!

For another, the only mild disappointment was that for all its potential fury, this "creature" didn't look very scary! He looked more like a giant Quaker Oats figure – except of course for the one memorable close-up when he barred his teeth at the rabbi! (Of course, if I saw a seven-foot lump of clay lumbering menacingly toward me, I'm sure I would freak, also!)

Thirdly, the portrayal of the Jews surprised me. I had not read any of the comments here and now see that this is a somewhat tired topic. I don't necessarily buy into the Kracauer school of thought on German expressionistic cinema being a precursor to Nazism. In this case, though, I WAS a little troubled by the portrayal. The imperial decree that the Jews shall be expelled specifically accused them of witchcraft and black magic. And, how did the learned and revered rabbi respond to this? With witchcraft and black magic, of course – almost seeming to justify the emperor's actions to an audience not overly sympathetic to Jewish persecution in the first place. Actually, it would seem that in virtually any century or culture in which a Jewish community thrived, any rabbi or his followers who got involved in anything even remotely akin to this would have been stoned by the community elders!

All that being said, I was still impressed by the film. It has its moments and is certainly well photographed and designed. I regret that some have ignored the "spoiler" rule and ruined the ending for some viewers. Fortunately, I did not see any of those comments before-hand and got to see the ending without really knowing what would happen (other than the still image on the DVD box).

Unlike Nosferatu, The Golem probably won't give anyone nightmares. Still, there are some powerful images in the film that will certainly stay with me. It clearly showed that German cinema was building on Caligari and ushering in a golden age. It remains a very effective film 85 years later.
2006-05-21
A very good early horror film, & I wish reviewers would be more careful
This is, currently, the only silent movie I have ever seen, and I was unsure how I'd take it. I had heard a lot about this movie and was expecting big things, and I must say I was impressed.

The only major complain I have is that, as with many older classics, I read a review of it prior to buying in which the reviewer gave WAY too much away (the ending sequence, namely).. this has happened to me far too many times. I really wish reviewers wouldn't assume that everyone has already seen the movies they are reviewing, just because they are 'classics'. It really dampened my experience with the ending of both this movie, and The Man with X-Ray Eyes, just to name a few.

Anywho, the version I saw (the Kino remaster) was great. The picture quality was about as good as you could expect from a film more than 80 years old. The score was very good, maybe a tad repetitive, but it suit the film. The acting is quite good, very reminiscant of the acting style from the mid-to-early 20th century.

The scare factor? Well, probably not much these days. The Jewish ghetto is very well constructed, and really suits the setting. The golem himself is not so scary, more goofy to me, but to people in 1920, I can imagine he could have been quite scary. This is more of an 'interest' movie, than an all-out scare fest. You can really see where so many of the great horror/scare films over the years got their ideas from after seeing early films such as this.

I would definately recommend everyone who is interested in horror to track it down. Don't be put off by the fact that it's a silent film, it took all of 20 seconds for me to forget that completely, and to just enjoy the film.

2003-08-05
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
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