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I caught this restored version of the 1920 German silent classic at Lincoln Center where a new musical score was premiered by the Chamber Music Society. I had never seen the film before and was frankly amazed at the imagery in the sets and costumes and editing of the film. The film's director, Paul Wegener, wearing a thickly padded outfit and wig and high-heeled boots plays the main character, "The Golem". A mythical character from Jewish folklore. For its day, the special effects were also intriguing. I resist describing the movie as anti-semitic but I believe that the portrayal of the jewish ghetto was depicted so dramatically to show that the jews in Prague were outsiders and not welcome in mainstream society. This is evident in the fact that when a nobleman comes to the ghetto, he is greeted by a mammoth closed gate that looks like a precursor to the one used in King-Kong. And most notably, during the creation sequence, a satanic figure appears on screen that would coincide with the European belief a that time that Jews walk hand-in-hand with the Dark forces.
As far as the Golem's performance- this film is really a precursor to "Frankenstein" that Boris Karloff must have seen in its original release - there are so many similarites.
Biggest Image - at the conclusion, the Golem is surrounded by a group of "blond" Aryan-looking children that clearly distinguish them from the ghetto children that we see earlier in the film.
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