The Golem (1920)
October 8, 2014 9:27 AM - Subscribe

In 16th-century Prague, a Jewish rabbi creates a giant creature from clay, called the Golem, and using sorcery, brings the creature to life in order to protect the Jews of Prague from persecution.

MeFi Horror Club's (moderately late) first bonus pick for October is a silent feature by Paul Wegener.

See the entire film for free here on YouTube.

Bride of Frankenstein is Friday!
posted by DirtyOldTown (3 comments total) 5 users marked this as a favorite
My local library is showing this with live musical accompaniment in their Silent Film Series, so I'll be watching it in a few weeks. I'm really excited.

Come to think, any mefites in the Albany area interested in making a meetup out of it?
posted by gauche at 12:29 PM on October 8, 2014

Wow, I saw this in college and remember bein surprised and impressed.

Surprised, because I didn't think a film of its age, before sound, could keep me entertained. Even though I've always enjoyed classic old films, the quality of the dialogue and characterization (as opposed to action and big exploding things) were a big part of what drew me to them.

Which is why I was also impressed that the technological limitations didn't hamper the story-telling aspect of The Golem in the least, and maybe even added to its appeal.
posted by misha at 1:40 PM on October 8, 2014

Just watched this a couple of days ago. I think what most surprised me was the quality of the sets: the huge gates, the Rabbi's house, the throne room. Hooooly shit that's not a model, that's a real thing. And then later [no spoilers but]: Hooooly shit they really did that.

On Wikipedia, I learn that the sets were designed by an architect, Hans Poelzig, the son of a German countess and a random Englishman she had a fling with. His buildings are now mostly lost, but some of the photos are truly trippy.

I also learn that director Paul Wegener played the Golem in this and two previous lost films which he also directed, and that he married, divorced and later remarried the actress playing Miriam, Lyda Salmonova. Their second marriage lasted until Wegener's death.

Wegener spent WWII employed by the Third Reich, making propaganda films. After the war he didn't live long, but immediately following the war chose to play the rabbi in Lessing's Nathan the Wise, a play arguing for kinship & toleration between religions.
posted by Pallas Athena at 9:12 AM on January 14, 2023

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