The Golem: How He Came Into The World (1920)

I recently started watching films a bit more regularly than I have done for a while.

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I’ve signed up to Mubi, whose USP is providing films for streaming (and downloading to devices) one per day, for thirty days. This means there are always 30 films to choose from.

The idea is that a small, well-curated selection of films might actually be of better value to the viewer than a vast, sloppy, loose selection.

I’ve watched about ten films in the past fortnight, and that’s probably more than I had seen all year so far, so it must be working. I’ve not loved them all, but I’ve thoroughly enjoyed about five or six.

Guess what this blog post is about.

The first film I watched after starting my subscription was The Golem: How He Came Into The World, a murky fairytale horror from Germany in 1920. The story is of a rabbi who creates a monster that protects the Jews of Prague from persecution. Apparently it’s an old Jewish folk tale.

The story is obviously interesting for its more modern connotations, but I was happy to lie back and just enjoy the fairytale for what it was. The sets were delicious – not a straight line in sight, and I got a bit trigger happy taking screenshots of architectural features of the walled town like windows, doors, rooflines, and hinges. Seriously, look at those wonderfully gnarled hinges!

Of course it was silent, with a fun soundtrack with recurring motifs, and the stark, melodramatic, monochromatic shots were occasionally augmented by the use of colour tinting, as can be seen above.

As a horror film (albeit a very early one), it even managed to provide two distinct sequences I can recall that absolutely gave me a sense of the willies. I was just as fascinated by the making of the film as its look and feel, and those sequences in particular were great from both perspectives.

I couldn’t have asked for a better film to kick off my subscription to a service like Mubi. And, as I’ve said, the quality hasn’t really let up since.


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