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The Golem

Directed by Paul Wegener & Carl Boese

Germany | 101 minutes | 1920

Widely recognized as the source of the Frankenstein myth, the ancient Hebrew legend of the Golem provided actor/director Paul Wegener with the substance for one of the most adventurous films of the German silent cinema. When the Emperor decrees that the Jews of mediaeval Prague should be evicted from the ghetto, a mystical rabbi creates a clay giant and summons the demon Astaroth who breathes out in smoky letters the magic word that will animate the golem. Sculpted of clay and animated by the mysterious secrets of the Cabala, the Golem is a seemingly indestructible juggernaut, performing acts of great heroism, yet equally capable of dreadful violence. When the rabbi's assistant takes control of the Golem and attempts to use him for selfish gain, the lumbering monster runs rampant, abducting the rabbi's daughter and setting fire to the ghetto. With its remarkable creation sequence — a dazzling blend of religion, sorcery and special effects — and the grand scale destruction of its climax, The Golem was one of the greatest achievements of the legendary UFA Studios, and remains and undeniable landmark in the evolution of horror film.
Director Paul Wegener & Carl Boese
Countries of Production Germany
Year of Presentation 1920
Premiere Status
Runtime 101 minutes
Principal Cast Paul Wegener, Albert Steinrück, Ernst Deutsch
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