The Golem (1920)
Genre: Silent Experimental Fantasy Horror (Germany)
Starring: Paul Wegener, Albert Steinruck
Directed By: Carl Boese, Paul Wegener
Overview: In 16th century Prague, when a decree is made against the Jews, the Rabbi creates a Golem to protect the town.
Acting: Expressionism is melodrama. Melodrama can often work, as long as the expressionism is appropriately grand. This was not, so the domino falls on the acting, making it terrible. One thing about casting: handsome knights and lovely maidens should not be nasty-mouthed buck-toothed donkeys. And don't go telling me that Germany's 20s era was the reason, because Metropolis had quite the alluring German cast, each with a nice set of teeth.
Cinematography: The golem was only cool in that he was strong and clomped around and chucked a guy off a tower. The scene where the Rabbi summons a demon was really impressive, and there was a valiant attempt at improving the film with tinting and that huge fire, but there were really only two moments of "Expressionism". If I had not expected The Cabinet of Dr. Caligari, I wouldn't have been so harsh.
Script: Well the good thing is that the story was clearly explained and we also had a mix of ancient tome text intermingled with the intertitles. The method of creating the golem and the warnings about keeping it in service too long, all well written, which just goes to prove this would have been a better book.
Plot: So here's the story: Rabbi sees bad sign in stars, Rabbi receives decree that the Jews are expelled, Rabbi creates Golem to protect the town, Golem protects town, hucks a knight off tower, the end. Sn0o0o0o0o0ore-fest. This would have made a tremendous 30 minute short. I had to be subjected to gape-mouthed bearded men for 60 minutes too many.
Mood: The fact that this movie moved slower than molasses was a real mood-shanker, I'll say that right now. To think that someone would waste so much film on blinking stats in the sky, yet only have a 4-second still of the broken dead knight on the cobblestone made me think that the director didn't seem to know when to let the moment sink in.
Overall Rating: 38% (You'd Have More Fun With A Rock)
Aftertaste: I wanted rampaging, death, mayhem and a teaching of the lesson that you shouldn't summon demons because bad things happen. I guess I was just hoping for a Battle Royale with The Kool-Aid Kid or at least The Hulk or something. That would have made it better. Instead I get some ancient copy of a story I really could care less for. Boring as dirt.