Der Golem

Overview

Actor-director Paul Wegener made three films built around the mythical creature of Jewish legend: Golem was released in 1914, and a sequel of sorts, Der Golem und die T?nzerin, came out in 1917. This is the one film which has survived and is regarded among the landmarks of early German expressionism. In medieval Warsaw, Rabbi Loew (Albert Steinruck) observes the stars and concludes that trouble is brewing for his people. When the emperor issues a decree threatening the expulsion of Jews from the city, the rabbi, ...
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Overview

Actor-director Paul Wegener made three films built around the mythical creature of Jewish legend: Golem was released in 1914, and a sequel of sorts, Der Golem und die Tänzerin, came out in 1917. This is the one film which has survived and is regarded among the landmarks of early German expressionism. In medieval Warsaw, Rabbi Loew (Albert Steinruck) observes the stars and concludes that trouble is brewing for his people. When the emperor issues a decree threatening the expulsion of Jews from the city, the rabbi, a master of magic, activates the Golem, a monstrous clay figure, to help save his congregation. The rabbi's daughter, Miriam (Lyda Salmonova, who also played this role in the 1914 film) is courted by two men, Famulus (Ernst Deutsch), the rabbi's assistant, and Knight Florian (Lathar Menthel), a messenger for the emperor. Famulus re-activates the Golem to vanquish his rival, and the monster goes berserk. Stylized sets and moody cinematography elevated Der Golem above the standard features of its time, its central figure has been the focus of a number of films produced in various countries, and the name has become a generic descriptor for any lumbering creature which can't be easily controlled.
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Special Features

[None specified]
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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.
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Product Details

  • Release Date: 9/24/2002
  • UPC: 089218404794
  • Original Release: 1920
  • Rating:

  • Source: Alpha Video
  • Presentation: Black & White
  • Time: 1:25:00
  • Format: DVD
  • Sales rank: 32,752

Cast & Crew

Performance Credits
Ralph Carney Horns
Ernst Deutsch Famulus
Fritz Feld Jester
Eric Drew Feldman Keyboards/Synthetics
Otto Gebuhr
Duane Jarvis Lead Guitar
Jason Carter Drums/Percussion
Lathar Menthel Knight Florian
Joseph Pope Bass
Lyda Salmonova Rabbi's Daughter
Albert Steinruck Rabbi Loew
Hanns Sturm Emperor Rudolph II
Paul Wegener The Golem
Technical Credits
Karl Boese Director
Paul Wegener Director, Screenwriter
Karl W. Freund Cinematographer
Henrik Galeen Screenwriter
Guido Seeber Cinematographer
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Scene Index

Side #1 --
2. Chapter 1 [23:14]
3. Chapter 2 [17:52]
4. Chapter 3 [23:39]
5. Chapter 4 [15:27]
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Menu

Side #1 --
   Play
   Index
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