Golem

Der Golem

Director: Karl Boese, Paul Wegener

Cast: Ernst Deutsch, Fritz Feld

     
 

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Kino's DVD release of Paul Wegener's The Golem stands head-and-shoulders above any rival edition. Not that there aren't flaws in the 1920 movie even here, but as the product of a professional restoration effort involving archival sources held in museums on two continents, it's got the sharpest image that one is ever likely to see of this movie -- when the Golem

Overview

Kino's DVD release of Paul Wegener's The Golem stands head-and-shoulders above any rival edition. Not that there aren't flaws in the 1920 movie even here, but as the product of a professional restoration effort involving archival sources held in museums on two continents, it's got the sharpest image that one is ever likely to see of this movie -- when the Golem appears onscreen and starts to move, one gets a real sense of the menace and danger of its physical and metaphysical presence. The tinting is a bit more subtle than we're used to, but it also adds to the eerie mix of history, myth, and fantasy unfolding in front of us; and the presence of a score (which uses traditional Jewish themes for much of its length) separates this DVD from the best competing editions of the movie, which are silent. The 86-minute movie has been given ten carefully chosen chapters that also coincide with the five "acts" into which the film itself is divided. Additionally, the disc comes with a fascinating excerpt from Julien Duvivier's 1936 version of the same story and comparisons with scenes from other movies and literary works, including F.W. Murnau's Faust. The disc opens automatically to an easy-to-use multi-layered menu.

Editorial Reviews

All Movie Guide - Tom Wiener
Like its contemporaneous cousin, The Cabinet of Dr. Caligari, Der Golem's main virtues are its visuals, particularly Karl Freund's expressive cinematography. The film is strongest in setting up its premise, using labyrinthine sets and shadowy figures to create an aura of doom and dread. When the mechanics of the story kick in, the film loses some of its suggestiveness and veers into melodrama. The "be careful what you wish for" theme has been compared to that in Mary Shelley's tale of Dr. Frankenstein's monster, but Rabbi Loew is no mad scientist attempting to create life, just a man looking for some kind of intervention to protect his people from persecution. As with many a monster film, the plot turns on sex; Miriam, the rabbi's daughter, is loved by two men, and one of them uses the Golem to vanquish his rival, though that act sets the monster on a rampage. As in James Whale's Frankenstein, there is an encounter between the monster and a child, but the outcome here is decidedly happier. Writer/star/co-director Paul Wegener had made two previous films centered on this character, so it's a bit of a surprise to learn that he stayed in Germany after the Nazis took over and made several propaganda films for Hitler's regime.

Product Details

Release Date:
09/24/2002
UPC:
0738329025526
Original Release:
1920
Rating:
NR
Source:
Kino Video
Presentation:
[B&W]
Sound:
[stereo]
Time:
1:26:00
Sales rank:
26,035

Special Features

Excerpt of Julien Duvivier's 1936 film: Le Golem; Scene comparison featuring excerpts of F.W. Murnau's Faust (1926) and Chayim Bloch's book The Golem (1925); New and improved English intertitle translation; Gallery of photographs and artwork

Cast & Crew

Performance Credits
Ernst Deutsch Famulus
Fritz Feld Jester
Otto Gebuhr Actor
Lathar Menthel Knight Florian
Lyda Salmonova Rabbi's Daughter
Hanns Sturm Emperor Rudolph II
Albert Steinruck Rabbi Loew
Paul Wegener The Golem
Duane Jarvis Lead Guitar
Joseph Pope Bass
Ralph Carney Horns
Jason Carter Drums/Percussion
Eric Drew Feldman Keyboards/Synthetics

Technical Credits
Karl Boese Director
Paul Wegener Director,Screenwriter
Karl W. Freund Cinematographer
Henrik Galeen Screenwriter
Guido Seeber Cinematographer

Scene Index

Side #1 --
1. Rabbi Löw [7:55]
2. The Opressor's Hand [12:41]
3. The Sorceror's Apprentice [9:44]
4. Creation [7:31]
5. A Strange Servant [9:51]
6. The Rabbi's Lesson [6:54]
7. Savior of Clay [11:51]
8. A New Master [3:59]
9. Fury Unleashed [9:21]
10. Innocence [5:15]

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