Sunday, October 10, 2021

Der Golem -- October 10, 2021

Moving Picture World, 04-March-1917

Halloween is coming. 

Der Kinematograph, 30-December-1914

Jewish folk tales describe a Golem as a man-like creature made from clay or mud and given life by magic. In 1915, Paul Wegener and Henrik Galeen created Der Golem, the first movie about a Golem. The film was set in modern times. Fragments of the movie may survive. Wegener played the Golem and Galeen played the antique dealer who reanimated him. Germany was at war but the United States was not, so the movie was released in the US as The Monster of Fate. I have not been able to find any reviews from the US.

Der Kinematograph, 13-June-1917

In 1917, Wegener and Rochus Gliese directed Der Golem und die Tänzerin (The Golem and the Dancing Girl), which has been described as a short horror spoof. The film is probably lost, but Wegener played an actor who had played the Golem in a movie. He wears his Golem attire to a costume party in order to impress a dancer whom he likes. Rochus Gliese later served as art director for FW Murnau's Sunrise

Moving Picture World, 10-September-1921

In 1920, Wegener and Carl Boese directed Der Golem, wie er in die Welt kam (The Golem: How He Came into the World), released in the US as The Golem, a movie set in Prague during medieval times.  The Jews of Prague have been banished. Rabbi Judah Loew ben Bezalel, who was a real person, creates a Golem to protect his people. The Golem saves the life of the Holy Roman Emperor, who reverses the expulsion order. Later the Golem is possessed by an evil spirit and causes death and destruction in the Jewish quarter, but eventually is cured by the Rabbi and deactivated by a little girl.

Exhibitors Herald, 10-September-1921

A statue of the Golem was used around Manhattan's Lower East Side to promote the film. The item says the statue would be used in other cities as well.

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