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A relic certainly, but a fascinating one,Der Golem is perhaps the screen's first great monster movie. Though it was actually the third time director-star Paul Wegener had played the eponymous creation, the earlier efforts (sadly lost) were rough drafts for this elaborate dramatization of the Jewish legend. 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. Intended as a protector and avenger, the golem is twisted by the machinations of a lovelorn assistant and, like many a monster to come, runs riot, terrorizing guilty and innocent alike until a little girl innocently ends his rampage. Wegener's golem is an impressively solid figure, the Frankenstein monster with a slightly comical clay wig. The wonderfully grotesque Prague sets and the alchemical atmosphere remain potent.--Kim Newman
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CastFritz Feld, Paul Wegener, Ernst Deutsch, Otto Gebuhr, Lathar Menthel, Lyda Salmonova, Albert Steinruck, Hanns Sturm
DirectorPaul Wegener, Carl Boese
Genre:  Classics, Foreign, Horror
Release Date:  January 1, 1920
MPAA Rating:  Unrated
Screen WriterPaul Wegener
Runtime:  1hr 15min
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review by . May 28, 2007
posted in Movie Hype
Set in sixteenth-century Prague, THE GOLEM is a classic silent film based upon a relatively well-known Jewish legend. Even though the Jews of Prague have peacefully lived among the other residents of the city, they have been segregated and live in a separate community ghettoized from the rest of the city. Evil courtiers convince the Emperor to issue an edict that will expel the Jews from the city completely. In an attempt to save his people, a learned rabbi, Rabbi Loew (Albert Steinruck) uses his …
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