The Golem: How He Came into the World (1920)
In 16th-century Prague, a rabbi creates the Golem – a giant creature made of clay. Using sorcery, he brings the creature to life in order to protect the Jews of Prague from persecution. The rabbi’s evil assistant manages to take control of the Golem, commanding it to perform sordid criminal acts culminating in the kidnapping of the rabbi’s beautiful daughter. The golem, outraged by his vile misuse, rebels and a deadly rampage ensues.
With high, angular sets by famed architect Hans Poelzig and full of wonderful imagery captured by the camera of Karl Freund, this silent classic captivates the eye and the imagination. Materfully combining horror and pathos, Paul Wegener’s stiff-limbed portrayal of the Golem clearly influenced Karloff’s Frankenstein monster in 1931.