Sunday, 24 May 2009

The Golem 1920

The Golem (1920)

Director: Paul Wegener and Carl Boese

Actors: Paul Wegener, Albert Steinrück, Lyda Salmonova, Ernst Deutsch, Hans Stürm, Max Kronert, Otto Gebühr, Dore Paetzold, Lothar Müthel, Greta Schröder, Loni Nest, Carl Ebert and Fritz Feld.

Writers: Henrik Galeen, Gustav Meyrink and Paul Wegener

Release date: 29th October 1920 (Germany)

Widely accepted as the beginning of the Frankenstein myth, the ancient Israelite fable of the Golem allowed thespian/director Paul Wegener with the content for among the most adventurous movies of the German silent film.

Hurting under the oppressive reign of Rudolf II in 16th-century Prague, a Talmudic rabbi (Albert Seinrück) produces a colossus warrior (Paul Wegener) to protect the safety of his folks. Sculpted of mud and livened by the mystical enigmas of the Kabbalah, the Golem is a apparently undestroyable steamroller, doing acts of eminent gallantry, yet evenly able of awful fury. As the rabbi's helper (Ernst Deutsch) takes hold of the Golem and endeavours to utilize him for selfish gain, the ponderous demon runs rampant, kidnapping the rabbi's girl (Lyda Salmonova) and setting fire to the ghetto.

With its noteworthy conception episode (a blazing fuse of religious belief, black magic and exceptional effects) and the grand-scale demolition of its climax, The Golem was among the largest accomplishments of the fabled UFA Studios, and continues an undeniable turning point in the development of the horror movie.

German Silent Films

After World War 1, the German silent film industry flourished, which was aided by rampant inflation throughout the 1920’s.

After the horrors of the war, the German silent film industry tended to be aimed at horror and crime films. This culminated in the German silent horror film The Cabinet of Dr Caligari, which was made in 1919. This film is credited as the beginning of expressionism within German film. There was no location shooting, but relied on sets that were painted to represent the mental state of a madman.

Other landmark films from this period in German silent film are Nosferatu 1922 and The Golem 1920.

Films from this period concentrated on imagery and symbolism to tell the narrative. The expressionist movement within German silent cinema ended during the mid 1920’s.