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THE GOLEM

Der Golem, Wie er in Die Welt Kam

Paul Wegener | 1915 | 76 MINS
Germany
With live piano accompaniment by John Sweeney at the Guildhall, Priory Park, Chichester.

In Detail

An iconic early horror masterpiece, Paul Wegener’s ‘Der Golem’ (1920) is presented with amazing piano accompaniment by John Sweeney, master of bringing silent films to life. Prepare to be chilled and thrilled in the atmospheric Guildhall.

In the Jewish ghetto in 16th century Prague, Rabbi Low (Albert Streinruck) creates a forbidding clay Golem (played by director Paul Wegener) to protect his people from the tyrannical Emperor Luhois (Otto Gebuhr). Brought to life with a demon spirit and an amulet placed in the centre of the creature’s chest, the Golem is a seemingly indestructible juggernaut, performing acts of great heroism. But when the Rabbi's assistant attempts to control the Golem for selfish gain, it becomes a terrifying force of destruction, rampaging through the ghetto leaving fire and death in its wake.

A landmark film in the horror canon, influencing most notably James Whale’s 1931 adaptation of ‘Frankenstein’, ‘Der Golem, Wie er in Die Welt Kam’ (The Ghoul, How He Came into the World) is also a pre-eminent example of German Expressionism, and an important contribution to the golden age of Weimar Cinema. It was created one year after ‘The Cabinet of Caligari’. Also, because alleys, rooms and furniture are angled, bent and without right angles, ‘Der Golem’ is considered one of the most important so-called expressionist films; the setting and the numerous dramatic lighting effects reflect the fear and psychological inner life of the participants. It presented in a brand new 4K restoration.

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