Le Golem (1936)

LE GOLEM (1936)
(a.k.a. THE GOLEM)
Article #815 by Dave Sindelar
Viewing Date: 6-8-2003
Posting Date: 11-5-2003
Directed by Julien Duvivier
Featuring Harry Bauer, Germaine Aussey, Roger Karl

The inhabitants of the Jewish ghetto in Prague are hoping that the Golem will come to life and save them from their oppressors, but the emperor wants to get hold of the Golem himself.

Title check: Simple. Q: Is there a Golem in the movie? A: Yes.

This movie is neither a sequel nor a remake of the 1920 movie, THE GOLEM; it’s more like a sequel to the story that inspired that version. Those expecting the usual stone monster machinations of that movie may be disappointed; we don’t see the Golem until almost two-thirds of the way into the movie, and it doesn’t really do anything until near the end. This is not to say that it’s a minor character; the whole movie revolves around it, and there is constant talk among all parties about the creature. In fact, the movie seems a lot more interested in the political significance of the creature (as a freer of slaves) than the 1920 version, and a great deal of the movie involves the attempts of several people to get a hold of the statue for their own purposes. What really holds the movie together, though, is Harry Bauer as Emperor Rudolf II, a desperate, paranoid and possibly insane man who ultimately can’t tell his friends from his enemies; he even tries to befriend the statue at one point. His performance is ultimately the movie’s strength, which in other respects I find a little reminiscent of the Sword and Sandal movies so prevalent in the sixties, (only with a mobile statue rather than Hercules). It’s definitely worth a watch for anyone interested in the legend.

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