Preceding James Whales' FRANKENSTEIN by over a decade, this tragic Promethean tale of a man-made monster that wreaks havoc on a small Jewish ghetto resonates just as strongly with today's audiences as it had nearly a century ago. In THE GOLEM, the revered Rabbi Loew predicts that a terrible fate will befall the Jews of Prague, which comes in the form of an edict from the Emperor that calls for each of the Jews to be removed from the city. Rabbi Loew shapes a giant protector out of clay in order to save his people, and then steals the word of life from the demon Astaroth during a magic ceremony. The Golem awakes and serves the rabbi faithfully, warding off the Emperor and his guards... That is, until the stars align and break the spell that binds the creature. Its rampage leaves the town in ruin, and leaves the Rabbi Loew to stop it once and for all! THE GOLEM is most recognized for Paul Wegener's uncanny performance as the monster, itself. His icy glares, robotic movements, and rigid costuming convey a truly believable clay creation brought to life. The exaggerated performances of Steinruck and the remaining cast members are entirely indicative of the period, displaying wide-eyed excitement, jealousy, fear, and rage with overly dramatic statements. Each of the incredible sets exhibit the same twisted Expressionist designs that would be found in the films of F.W. Murnau and other German directors of the time. A tense scene in which a young child gives the towering giant a flower would later be referenced in FRANKENSTEIN, while the picture's most stunning sequences is delivered through Loew's conjuration of Astaroth in his darkened workshop. THE GOLEM is an integral piece of film history, and an unquestionable classic among Horror aficionados which will continued to be enjoyed by many generations to follow.
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If you liked THE GOLEM, check out:
THE CABINET OF DR. CALIGARI, FRANKENSTEIN, NOSFERATU.