Carl Manes | 07/15/2010
(5 out of 5 stars)
"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.
I Like Horror Movies"
Review for Alpha Video version of THE GOLEM
Gregory Holmes | 10/30/2009
(5 out of 5 stars)
"Although this is certainly not a restored version, the print on this release from Alpha Video is quite good. There is some washing out but it isn't bad and there is surprisngly little dirt and scratching on this print. I am also a fan of the music score used for this version. I have no idea what it might be and there is no music credit on the disc anywhere but I think it really adds something to this version of the film. If you are looking for a cleaned up, near perfect release then this one isn't for you (go for the much more expensive edition from KINO) but if you don't mind a few scratches then this one is a bargain at less than ten dollars. Although this film isn't as widely known as CALIGARI, NOSFERATU or METROPOLIS it certainly ranks right beside them as one of the best examples of early German cinema. It's a true classic and deserves to be in the library of every horror fan or film buff."
Don't miss this early silent horror masterpiece
Chris Blackshere | hampered by what's acceptable | 10/10/2009
(5 out of 5 stars)
"This 1920 silent horror film is simply incredible. It is considered perhaps the first great monster movie ever made, and it definitely is the most unheralded. In fact, the Universal classic Frankenstein probably got some ideas from it.
This opening storyboard is incredibly frightening...
The learned Rabbi Loew
reads in the stars that
Geez, if that's not some freaky foreshadowing. Here's the setup--in the 16th century, the Jewish community in Prague face persecution. Desperate for protection, the Rabbi molds a giant golem out of clay, and summons a demon to help inject life into this statue. The scene is mesmerizing, with the Rabbi chanting his spell from within a ring of fire. One of the greatest scenes in the history of horror cinema!
Soon everyone learns that the golem refuses to be controlled, as it wrecks havoc amongst friends and foe. This makes a provocative statement on how violence creates more violence, and how you shouldn't mess with the laws of nature.
One interesting observation I had--the Jews were banded from the region due to rumors they practiced black magic. I immediately connected this with gov't lies and propaganda for means to justify an end. But when the Jews attempted to use spells for protection, it sort of validates the Emperor's beliefs, does it not?
The Golem is without a doubt an early gem in horror cinema. It is eerie, atmospheric, and ground-breaking. I have no idea why this has not received more acclaim. Highly recommended to silent horror film fans.