With no doubt, Der Golem is the screen's first great monster movie.
Prague ghetto, Middle Ages. Rabbi Loew creates a clay statue to save the Jews from ongoing brutal persecution. The statue is found in an old synagogue in the 20th century. Brought to life by an antique dealer, the golem is used as a menial servant. Eventually falling in love with the dealer's wife, it goes on a murderous rampage when its love for her goes unanswered.
Wegener had been unhappy with his 1915 attempt at telling the story, due to compromises he had to make during its production. His 1920 attempt was meant to more directly convey the legend as he heard it told in Prague while he was filming The Student of Prague (1913). In 1919, Wegener announced plans for Alraune und der Golem, uniting the two folklore characters in one film. Though posters and other publicity material survive, it was almost certainly never made. Instead, Wegener produced his 1920 film, but later starred as Professor Jakob ten Brinken in the 1928 version of Alraune.
It was shot at the Tempelhof Studios in Berlin. Architect and designer Hans Poelzig created the film's scenery as a highly stylised interpretation of the medieval Jewish ghetto of Prague.
Critical reception for The Golem upon its initial release was positive. The New York Times' 1921 review praised its "exceptional acting" and "expressive settings", the latter of which was compared to those of another early German expressionist horror film, Robert Wiene's The Cabinet of Dr. Caligari (1920). In the following years since The Golem's release and rediscovery it has been considered an early classic in horror cinema, and one of the first films to introduce the concept of the "man-made monster".
Rabbi Loew creates a clay statue to save the Jews from ongoing brutal persecution. The statue is found in an old synagogue in the 20th century. Brought to life by an antique dealer.
Caspervek will release his new score for Der Golem in 2021. The soundtrack, written for saxophone, piano and percussion, will include references to German expressionist music, as well as the sonorities of klezmer music.