7.2/10
5,529
47 user 45 critic

The Golem (1920)

Der Golem, wie er in die Welt kam (original title)
Unrated | | Fantasy , Horror | 19 June 1921 (USA)
In 16th-century Prague, a rabbi creates the Golem - a giant creature made of clay. Using sorcery, he brings the creature to life in order to protect the Jews of Prague from persecution.

Directors:

Carl Boese, Paul Wegener
Reviews

On Disc

at Amazon

1 nomination. See more awards »

Photos

Learn more

More Like This 

The Golem (1915)
Horror
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 6.1/10 X  

In this version of the golem legend, the golem, a clay statue brought to life by Rabbi Loew in 16th century Prague to save the Jews from the ongoing brutal persecution by the city's rulers,... See full summary »

Directors: Henrik Galeen, Paul Wegener
Stars: Paul Wegener, Henrik Galeen, Lyda Salmonova
Drama | Fantasy | Horror
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 6.6/10 X  

Balduin, a student of Prague, leaves his roystering companions in the beer garden, when he finds he has reached the end of his resources. He is scarcely seated in a quiet corner when a ... See full summary »

Directors: Paul Wegener, Stellan Rye
Stars: Paul Wegener, Grete Berger, Lyda Salmonova
Drama | Horror | Sci-Fi
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 7/10 X  

Dr. Henry Jekyll experiments with scientific means of revealing the hidden, dark side of man and releases a murderer from within himself.

Director: John S. Robertson
Stars: John Barrymore, Martha Mansfield, Brandon Hurst
Der müde Tod (1921)
Drama | Fantasy | Thriller
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 7.7/10 X  

When a woman's fiancé disappears, Death gives her three chances to save him from his fate.

Director: Fritz Lang
Stars: Lil Dagover, Walter Janssen, Bernhard Goetzke
Waxworks (1924)
Fantasy | Horror
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 6.8/10 X  

A wax museum hires a writer to give the sculptures stories. The writer imagines himself and the museum owner's daughter in the stories.

Directors: Leo Birinsky, Paul Leni
Stars: Emil Jannings, Conrad Veidt, Werner Krauss
Horror | Comedy
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 6.6/10 X  

As a practical joke, an actor impersonates the screen monster he made famous. Complications ensue.

Directors: Rochus Gliese, Paul Wegener
Stars: Paul Wegener, Lyda Salmonova, Rochus Gliese
Crime | Horror | Mystery
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 7.1/10 X  

A world-famous pianist loses both hands in an accident. When new hands are grafted on, he doesn't know they once belonged to a murderer.

Director: Robert Wiene
Stars: Conrad Veidt, Alexandra Sorina, Fritz Strassny
Faust (1926)
Drama | Fantasy | Horror
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 8.1/10 X  

The demon Mephisto wagers with God that he can corrupt a mortal man's soul.

Director: F.W. Murnau
Stars: Gösta Ekman, Emil Jannings, Camilla Horn
Fantasy | Horror | Mystery
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 8.1/10 X  

Hypnotist Dr. Caligari uses a somnambulist, Cesare, to commit murders.

Director: Robert Wiene
Stars: Werner Krauss, Conrad Veidt, Friedrich Feher
Häxan (1922)
Documentary | Fantasy | Horror
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 7.7/10 X  

Fictionalized documentary showing the evolution of witchcraft, from its pagan roots to its confusion with hysteria in modern Europe.

Director: Benjamin Christensen
Stars: Benjamin Christensen, Elisabeth Christensen, Maren Pedersen
Drama | Fantasy | Horror
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 7/10 X  

A wealthy man invites the local wealthy bachelors over for a puppet show about men who covet another man's wife. The puppeteer is actually a witch and gives the men nightmares about what could happen if they date the lady of the house.

Director: Arthur Robison
Stars: Alexander Granach, Max Gülstorff, Lilli Herder
Genuine (1920)
Horror
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 6/10 X  

Extremely rare work of Robert Wiene. From the director and year of excellent "The Cabinet of Dr. Caligari" this work was eventually overshadowed by the success of Caligari. It has a dreamy atmosphere, like another world or something.

Director: Robert Wiene
Stars: Fern Andra, Hans Heinrich von Twardowski, Ernst Gronau
Edit

Cast

Complete credited cast:
Paul Wegener ... Der Golem / The Golem
Albert Steinrück ... Der Rabbi Löw / Rabbi Loew
Lyda Salmonova ... Miriam, des Rabbi Tochter / Miriam, the Rabbi's Daughter
Ernst Deutsch Ernst Deutsch ... Der Rabbi Famulus / Rabbi Famulus
Hans Stürm Hans Stürm ... Der Rabbi Jehuda, der Älteste der Gemeinde (as Hanns Sturm)
Max Kronert Max Kronert ... Der Tempeldiener / Temple Servant
Otto Gebühr ... Der Kaiser / Emperor Luhois
Dore Paetzold Dore Paetzold ... Des Kaisers Kebse / The Emperor Kebse
Lothar Müthel Lothar Müthel ... Der Junker Florian / Knight Florian
Greta Schröder ... Ein Mägdelein mit der Rose / Little Girl with Rose
Loni Nest Loni Nest ... Ein kleines Mädchen / Little Girl
Edit

Storyline

In 16th-century Prague, a rabbi creates the Golem - a giant creature made of clay. Using sorcery, he brings the creature to life in order to protect the Jews of Prague from persecution.

Plot Summary | Add Synopsis

Taglines:

The 1920 Horror Masterpiece.

Genres:

Fantasy | Horror

Certificate:

Unrated | See all certifications »

Parents Guide:

View content advisory »
Edit

Details

Country:

Germany

Release Date:

19 June 1921 (USA) See more »

Also Known As:

The Golem See more »

Company Credits

Show more on IMDbPro »

Technical Specs

Runtime:

| (2002 Alpha Video DVD)

Sound Mix:

Silent

Aspect Ratio:

1.33 : 1
See full technical specs »
Edit

Did You Know?

Trivia

Debut of Fritz Feld. See more »

Goofs

When the dancers move for the first time at the Kaisers Feast you can see briefly a Hand from behind the camera, in the left Corner, giving some sort of Signal. See more »

Alternate Versions

The 2002 Alpha Video DVD version runs for 101 minutes. This is not evident from the back of the Alpha Video DVD case, which wrongly lists the running time as only 85 minutes. It looks as if Alpha Video somehow got hold of the fullest version currently known - maybe even a complete version of the film, since there are no obvious gaps in the story. See more »

Connections

Referenced in The Simpsons: The Saga of Carl (2013) See more »

Frequently Asked Questions

This FAQ is empty. Add the first question.

User Reviews

 
Insightful, Important Film
2 July 2004 | by FlickeringLightSee all my reviews

This landmark film is one of the earliest surviving expressionist works, and it's art direction and photography-- while not as stunning as a film like Caligari-- is still extremely interesting with its misshapen sets and its use of light and shadow, and light within shadow. Unlike Caligari, the themes of this film were resonant long after its release, and perhaps still are today.

The Golem is a tolerance film that studies in depth the relationship between Jews and Christians in Prague. To his credit, Wegener refuses to impose stereotypes on either party, instead concentrating on individual characters and using mass characterizations only to highlight the themes of the film.

Unlike stereotypical Jews, rich guys with big noses who rub pennies together, the Jews of Prague are decidedly poor. It is interesting to note that the Jews are all dressed in black and with very few exceptions appear to be bent with age, a tribute to an aging and dying religion. However, they are also portrayed to be earnest and hard-working, with strong communal instincts. The Christians, by contrast, appear bright, shiny, and new. They are dressed in light colors and are young and wealthy, and outwardly appear to be God's new chosen. However, they are also portrayed as foolish bohemians who do not take God seriously. In the end, Christian innocents (and blonde-blue Aryan, coincidentally)are able to stop the Golem's rampage, but only because he allows it. The final shot shows the Star of David lying in the dust as the Jews come to carry their fallen champion back into the ghetto, closing the great door behind them and leaving you with a feeling that they are gone forever. However, it should be noted that the Golem is not only a champion to the Jews, but a symbol of revival.

Another interesting comparison in this film is that between the Golem and Jesus. Like man, the Golem is made of sand and clay, then given life by a supernatural force. They are both immaculate conceptions, with the Golem being motherless while Jesus is born to a virgin mother. Jesus in his time was a champion of the Jews, as is the Golem, and each of them rebelled against the wickedness of the authorities that governed them.

This open-ended presentation of the struggle of Christianity vs. Judaism is what makes this film truly great. I suspect that this relevant elevation above the ordinary is the reason for its survival, even though it is the third film of this series. The fact that Wegener was able to make a film that is so ambiguous is a credit to him considering the circumstances surrounding German film-making at the time.

Rabbi Loew is portrayed as a wise and heroic leader of the Jewish community, which lives in a winding ghetto. He creates the Golem for a noble cause-- to protect his people against eviction by the Christians--and in this cause succeeds after the Christian court is saved by the Golem from divine repudiation after laughing at Loew's presentation of the Old Testament. The creation scene is particularly interesting, not only in its visuals, but for the fact that in this scene Rabbi Loew wears white (for purity), yet performs a ceremony that is holy in nature yet seems like witchcraft. The Golem turns on him when he seeks to continue using the Golem's services for selfish purposes after the Golem has accomplished his mission.

Miriam and Loew's servant are portrayed quite differently. Miriam is a dark seductress who is unwittingly the cause of the Golem's destructive rampage. She is only saved from the hands of the Golem by another act of divine intervention, when the communal prayer of the Jews in the streets of the ghetto results in her release. She usually dresses in dark colors. However, there is also a scene before her affair with Florian in which she wears white (purity of a different kind). Also notice how Florian carelessly twirls a flower when he delivers the edict to Rabbi Loew. This is a brief, but effective, example of his character and foreshadows things to come. Loew's servant is the only other young Jewish character in the film besides a few Jewish children in the street, and it is his revival of the Golem during his jealous rage against Florian that sets the Golem on his destructive path. Like Loew, he is unable to remove the Star of David from the Golem's chest once he begins to use the Golem for selfish gain. In the end, he shares a poignant moment with Miriam where they seek forgiveness and confidence about their actions.

The depth and attention to detail that Wegener shows as a director (and writer) in this film helps to place it among the great films in the brief history of cinema. It's message is particularly haunting considering the events of the next 25 years after its release.


31 of 38 people found this review helpful.  Was this review helpful to you? | Report this
Review this title | See all 47 user reviews »

Contribute to This Page



Recently Viewed