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Directed by Carl Boese, Paul Wegener
Germany 1920

 

An iconic early horror masterpiece, Der Golem was Paul Wegener's third attempt at adapting the Golem character for the big screen. Starring and co-directing with Carl Boese, Wegener crafted one of silent cinema's most enduring masterpieces.

In the Jewish ghetto in 16th century Prague, Rabbi Low (Albert Streinruck, Asphalt) 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 is also a pre-eminent example of German Expressionism, and an important contribution to the golden age of Weimar Cinema.

***

Actor-director Paul Wegener made three films built around the mythical creature of Jewish legend: Golem was released in 1914, and a sequel of sorts, Der Golem und die Tänzerin, came out in 1917. This is the one film which has survived and is regarded among the landmarks of early German expressionism. In medieval Warsaw, Rabbi Loew (Albert Steinruck) observes the stars and concludes that trouble is brewing for his people. When the emperor issues a decree threatening the expulsion of Jews from the city, the rabbi, a master of magic, activates the Golem, a monstrous clay figure, to help save his congregation. The rabbi's daughter, Miriam (Lyda Salmonova, who also played this role in the 1914 film) is courted by two men, Famulus (Ernst Deutsch), the rabbi's assistant, and Knight Florian (Lathar Menthel), a messenger for the emperor. Famulus re-activates the Golem to vanquish his rival, and the monster goes berserk. Stylized sets and moody cinematography elevated Der Golem above the standard features of its time, its central figure has been the focus of a number of films produced in various countries, and the name has become a generic descriptor for any lumbering creature which can't be easily controlled.

Excerpt from B+N located HERE

Posters

Theatrical Release: October 29th, 1920

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Review: Masters of Cinema - Region 'B' - Blu-ray

Box Cover

CLICK to order from:

Distribution Masters of Cinema Spine #213 - Region 'B' - Blu-ray
Runtime 1:16:12.071        
Video

1.33:1 1080P Dual-layered Blu-ray

Disc Size: 48,102,000,268 bytes

Feature: 26,104,661,184 bytes

Video Bitrate: 31.93 Mbps

Codec: MPEG-4 AVC Video

NOTE: The Vertical axis represents the bits transferred per second. The Horizontal is the time in minutes.

Bitrate Blu-ray:

Audio

LPCM Audio Music 2304 kbps 2.0 / 48 kHz / 2304 kbps / 24-bit
LPCM Audio Music 2304 kbps 2.0 / 48 kHz / 2304 kbps / 24-bit
LPCM Audio Music 2304 kbps 2.0 / 48 kHz / 2304 kbps / 24-bit

Commentary:
LPCM Audio English 1536 kbps 2.0 / 48 kHz / 1536 kbps / 16-bit

Subtitles English, None (German intertitles)
Features Release Information:
Studio:
Masters of Cinema

 

1.33:1 1080P Dual-layered Blu-ray

Disc Size: 48,102,000,268 bytes

Feature: 26,104,661,184 bytes

Video Bitrate: 31.93 Mbps

Codec: MPEG-4 AVC Video

 

Edition Details:

Brand new and exclusive audio commentary by Scott Harrison
Brand new and exclusive video essay by critic David Cairns (25:40)
Brand new and exclusive video essay by filmmaker Jon Spira (10:17)
The Kingdom of Ghosts - Dixon Smith (14:51)
The Golem [60 mins] The US version of the film, also fully restored, and featuring a score by Cordula Heth
A video piece highlighting the differences between the domestic and export negatives of the film (22:15)
PLUS: A collector's booklet featuring new writing on the film by Scott Harrison; and reprints of illustrations from the original 1915 novel


Blu-ray Release Date:
November 18th, 2019
Transparent Blu-ray Case inside slipcase

Chapters 8

 

 

Comments:

NOTE: The below Blu-ray captures were taken directly from the Blu-ray disc.

ADDITION: Masters of Cinema Blu-ray (November 2019): Masters of Cinema have transferred the classic 1920 Der Golem, wie er in die Welt kam (aka "The Golem") to Blu-ray for their spine #213. It is cited as being from a "from a stunning 4K digital restoration of the original film negatives, completed by FWMS in 2017" and the presentation is preceded by a text-screen with this information: "For DER GOLEM, WIE ER IN DIE WELT KAM, two original negatives were assembled from the exposed negative material for evaluation at home and abroad. The double shots of a scene were usually made by rotating parallel with two cameras, so that the shooting angles differ from each other. In 1995, the export negative was the basis of a photochemical restoration at Cineteca di Bologna, Filmmuseum Munich and Fondazione Cineteca Italiana via copies from various archives, and a digital reworking was released by the Friedrich Wilhelm Murnau Foundation for the home video market in 2003 on DVD internationally. The negative of the materials from Cinematek in Brussels, which was probably originally intended for the German market, was the basis for a digital restoration by the Friedrich Wilhelm Murnau Foundation and Cinematek in 2018. Both scenes are juxtaposed here in split screen. On the left, the export negative (1995/2003 restoration); on the right, the domestic negative (2018 restoration). " You can see from our screen captures below how impressive this 4K-restoration looks in 1080P. Magnificent on a dual-layered disc with a very high bitrate. Of course there are some inconsistencies considering the surviving elements age, but the majority of the presentation is remarkably crisp and tight with phenomenal detail and depth. This is 'year-end poll' stuff.

On their Blu-ray, Masters of Cinema give the option of three linear PCM stereo track (24-bit) with scores by composers Stephen Horne, acclaimed electronic music producer Wudec or musician and film-score composer Admir Shkurtaj. What a marvelous idea of have the choice between the three unique and expressive tracks. Masters of Cinema offer optional English subtitles (for the original German intertitles) on their Region 'B' Blu-ray.

The Masters of Cinema Blu-ray provide a brand new and exclusive audio commentary by the British novelist, scriptwriter, playwright and film writer, Scott Harrison. We have seen Harrison's contributions before, usually in the form of essays accompanying a Blu-ray release, though the author is impressive in his passion, preparedness and relaxed manner in exporting a film commentary. I enjoyed his talk and hope to hear more of his analysis in the future. There is an excellent new 26-minute video essay by critic David Cairns and another by filmmaker Jon Spira (running 10-minutes). We are also treated to a 1/4 hour, essay by Dixon Smith entitled "The Kingdom of Ghosts" discussing 'where are the Jewish Horror films?' and it includes many, more modern, examples (aka 1937's The Dybbuk to the Coen's opening in a A Serious Man), Masters of Cinema include the The US version of the film, also fully restored, and featuring a score by Cordula Heth. It runs 0:59:10.383, filling 17,307,494,976 bytes of space and having a 34500 kbps, max'ed out bitrate but we have compare some captures below and it is not of the same quality as the German version although it is watchable, with damage marks. Lastly is a 22-minute video piece highlighting the differences between the domestic and export negatives of the film with split-screens. The package contains a collector's booklet featuring new writing on the film by Scott Harrison; and reprints of illustrations from the original 1915 novel.

One of the best Silent Era Blu-ray releases of the year. Der Golem has sorcery, persecution and a giant benevolent savior made of clay - what more could you possibly want? It's a film I am thrilled to have seen in such a stellar 4K-restored transfer and have the option of the three resplendent scores, but commentary and education visual essays - let's not for get the collector's book. This Masters of Cinema Blu-ray has our very highest recommendation! Buy with confidence and a high level of anticipation!

Gary Tooze

 


Menus / Extras

 


CLICK EACH BLU-RAY CAPTURE TO SEE ALL IMAGES IN FULL 1920X1080 RESOLUTION

 

1) Masters of Cinema (German) - Region 'B' - Blu-ray - TOP

2) Masters of Cinema (US version) - Region 'B' - Blu-ray BOTTOM

 

 


 

1) Masters of Cinema (German) - Region 'B' - Blu-ray - TOP

2) Masters of Cinema (US version) - Region 'B' - Blu-ray BOTTOM

 

 


 

1) Masters of Cinema (German) - Region 'B' - Blu-ray - TOP

2) Masters of Cinema (US version) - Region 'B' - Blu-ray BOTTOM

 

 


 

 


 

 


 

 


 

 


 

 


 

 


 

 


 

 


 

 


 

 


 

 


 

 


 

 


 

 


 

 


 

 


 

 


 

 


 

 


 

 


 

 


  

Box Cover

CLICK to order from:

Distribution Masters of Cinema Spine #213 - Region 'B' - Blu-ray


 


 

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