October 31, 2016

The Golem: How He Came into the World.

Review #861: The Golem: How He Came into the World.

Albert Steinrück (Rabbi Loew), Paul Wegener (The Golem), Lyda Salmonova (Miriam), Ernst Deutsch (Loew's assistant), Lothar Müthel (Knight Florian), and Otto Gebühr (Emperor) Directed by Paul Wegener and Carl Boese.

It has been a while since the last time I reviewed a world cinema film, and it only made sense to a famous one from Germany, which was where the last world cinema film was from (#797 - People on Sunday). The Golem: How He Came into the World (known as Der Golem, wie er in die Welt kam in Germany) was released on October 29, 1920, and it was the third Golem film made by Paul Wegener, with the other two being The Golem (1915) and The Golem and the Dancing Girl (1917). However, this is the only one that is not lost, and it happens to be a prequel to the previous two films as it shows how the golem (a mythical being created by inanimate matter by magic) is created. The film has been called an influence on the 1931 version of Frankenstein (#072), and I can see that in some parts, such as with the Golem himself, who lumbers around in a menacing matter one that somewhat resembles Karloff's movements 11 years later. In any case, Wegener (who also co-directed the film) does an excellent job, making the Golem a truly interesting monster with a fair amount of facial expression to him as well. It's also been used as an example of German Expressionism, with sylish angles and color tints that correspond excellently with the cinematography by Karl Freund and Guido Seeber. Steinruck does a favorable job, having the right sense of gravitas without becoming cartoonish in his movements. Salmonova is fair, though she isn't given much to do aside from the climax. It is interesting that the Golem isn't stopped by another monster or anything particularly brute in force, but by a child of all things. For anyone looking for a great piece of cinema from yesteryear (96 years) or some fine horror that works at its own pace, I would suggest this film as one you should check out. Happy Halloween.

Overall, I give it 9 out of 10 stars.

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