The Golem

The Golem

Directed by Paul Wegener, Carl Boese. Starring Paul Wegener, Albert Steinrück, Ernst Deutsch, Lyda Salmonova. (1920, NR, 91 min.)

REVIEWED By Marjorie Baumgarten, Thu., June 22, 2000

This rarely screened silent film is based on the Jewish folktale of the golem – a clay monster created by Rabbi Loew in the 16th century to thwart the Hapsburg rulers after they issue a decree exiling all the Jews because of a plague for which they are superstitiously held responsible. Not unlike Frankenstein, the golem terrorizes the emperor’s court, falls in love with the rabbi’s daughter, and is subdued by an innocent child. Most of all, The Golem is remembered as a high point in German Expressionism, with dramatically painted sets and crowd scenes and stylized acting. The Golem is played by co-director Wegener, who also directed this story a couple of other times.

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