Der Golem

Year: 1920Certificate: pg

Carl Boese, Paul Wegener
Country of Origin:
Film, Horror
One of most important contributions to German Expressionist cinema, the 1920 version of Der Golem is a must-see for lovers of Weimar Cinema as well as the perfect introduction to this classic era of film-making to the uninitiated. Fully restored and digitally remastered, Der Golem features the extras of an audio essay by film historian R Dixon Smith, photo gallery, dual language (English/German intertitles) and scene selection. Based on a legend in Jewish mysticism, and the third film by actor and director Paul Wegener to feature the Golem, this is undoubtedly the most accomplished and its influence can be seen in many later films, but in particular James Whale’s Frankenstein. In the Jewish ghetto in 16th Century Prague, the community leader and astrologer Rabbi Löw’s (Albert Steinrück) foresees doom for his people written in the stars. A short time later the Emperor Luhois (Otto Gebühr) issues an expulsion order to the people of the ghetto and they are to leave the city. In an attempt to save his people, Löw creates a forbidding clay golem (Paul Wegener) that he brings to life with the assistance of a demon spirit and an amulet placed in the centre of the creature’s chest. Subsequently the Golem saves the Emperor’s life and the order is rescinded. Initially the Golem does nothing but good, but changes after Löw’s assistant Famulus (Ernst Deutsch) uses the creature to ward off Count Florian (Lothar Müthel), who is competing with him for the affections of the Rabbi’s daughter Miriam (Lyda Salmonova). Famulus tries to remove the amulet and to return the Golem to rest, but fails as the enraged creature embarks on a trail of destruction, burning Löw’s house and making off with Miriam; the whole community is threatened. Screening DER GOLEM as part of the BFI's In Dreams Are Monsters season? Take a look at these programming notes provided by the BFI FAN Young Consultants here. The Young Consultants are a 9 strong group of under 20 year olds working in Film Exhibition across the UK who’ve been brought together to represent and provide an authentic youth voice for the Network.  

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