The Golem: How He Came into the World  was the third of three films...the others being The Golem and the Dancing Girl  and Der Golem .
The word golem occurs once in the Bible in Psalm 139:16, which uses the word ????, meaning "my unshaped form". The Mishnah uses the term for an uncultivated person: "Seven characteristics are in an uncultivated person, and seven in a learned one," Pirkei Avot 5:6 in the Hebrew text (English translations vary). In modern Hebrew golem is used to mean "dumb" or "helpless". Similarly, it is often used today as a metaphor for a brainless lunk or entity who serves man under controlled conditions but is hostile to him under others. "Golem" passed into Yiddish as goylem to mean someone who is clumsy or slow.
The earliest stories of golems date to early Judaism. In the Talmud (Tractate Sanhedrin 38b), Adam was initially created as a golem when his dust was "kneaded into a shapeless husk." Like Adam, all golems are created from mud. They were a creation of those who were very holy and close to God. A very holy person was one who strove to approach God, and in that pursuit would gain some of God's wisdom and power. One of these powers was the creation of life. However, no matter how holy a person became, a being created by that person would be but a shadow of one created by God.
Early on, it was noted that the main disability of the golem was its inability to speak. Sanhedrin 65b describes Rava creating a man (gavra). He sent the man to Rav Zeira. Rav Zeira spoke to him, but he did not answer. Rav Zeira said, "You were created by the magicians; return to your dust."
During the Middle Ages, passages from the Sefer Yetzirah (Book of Creation) were studied as a means to attain the mystical ability to create and animate a golem, although there is little in the writings of Jewish mysticism that supports this belief. It was believed that golems could be activated by an ecstatic experience induced by the ritualistic use of various letters of the Hebrew Alphabet.
In some tales, (for example those of the Golem of Chelm and the Golem of Prague) a golem is inscribed with Hebrew words that keep it animated. The word emet ("truth" in the Hebrew language) written on a golem's forehead is one such example. The golem could then be deactivated by removing the aleph in emet, thus changing the inscription from 'truth' to 'death' ("dead"). Legend and folklore suggest that golems could be activated by writing a specific series of letters on parchment and placing the paper in a golem's mouth.
The Golem of Chelm
The earliest known written account of the creation of a golem by a historical figure reported a tradition connected to Rabbi Eliyahu of Chelm (1550–1583). Moshe Idel comments, "This tradition in one form or another is the blueprint of the later legend of the creation of the Golem by Eliayahu's famous contemporary R. Yehudah Leow of Prague."
A Polish Kabbalist, writing in about 1630–1650, reported the creation of a golem by Rabbi Eliyahu thus: "And I have heard, in a certain and explicit way, from several respectable persons that one man [living] close to our time, whose name is R. Eliyahu, the master of the name, who made a creature out of matter [Heb. Golem] and form [Heb. tzurah] and it performed hard work for him, for a long period, and the name of emet was hanging upon his neck, until he finally removed it for a certain reason, the name from his neck and it turned to dust." A similar account was reported by a Christian author Christoph Arnold in 1674.
Rabbi Yaakov Emden (d.1776) elaborated on the story in a book published in 1748: "As an aside, I’ll mention here what I heard from my father’s holy mouth regarding the Golem created by his ancestor, the Gaon R. Eliyahu Ba’al Shem of blessed memory. When the Gaon saw that the Golem was growing larger and larger, he feared that the Golem would destroy the universe. He then removed the Holy Name that was embedded on his forehead, thus causing him to disintegrate and return to dust. Nonetheless, while he was engaged in extracting the Holy Name from him, the Golem injured him, scarring him on the face."
According to the Polish Kabbalist, "the legend was known to several persons, thus allowing us to speculate that the legend had indeed circulated for some time before it was committed to writing and, consequently, we may assume that its origins are to be traced to the generation immediately following the death of R. Eliyahu, if not earlier."
The classic narrative: The Golem of Prague
The most famous golem narrative involves Judah Loew ben Bezalel, the late 16th century chief rabbi of Prague, also known as the Maharal, who reportedly created a golem to defend the Prague ghetto from antisemitic attacks and pogroms. Depending on the version of the legend, the Jews in Prague were to be either expelled or killed under the rule of Rudolf II, the Holy Roman Emperor. To protect the Jewish community, the rabbi constructed the Golem out of clay from the banks of the Vltava river, and brought it to life through rituals and Hebrew incantations. As this golem grew, it became increasingly violent, killing gentiles and spreading fear. A different story tells of a golem that fell in love, and when rejected, became the violent monster seen in most accounts. Some versions have the golem eventually turning on its creator or attacking other Jews.
The Emperor begged Rabbi Loew to destroy the Golem, promising to stop the persecution of the Jews. To deactivate the Golem, the rabbi rubbed out the first letter of the word "emet" (truth or reality) from the creature's forehead leaving the Hebrew word "met", meaning dead. The Golem's body was stored in the attic genizah of the Old New Synagogue, where it would be restored to life again if needed. According to legend, the body of Rabbi Loew's Golem still lies in the synagogue's attic. Some versions of the tale state that the Golem was stolen from the genizah and entombed in a graveyard in Prague's Žižkov district, where the Žižkov Television Tower now stands. A recent legend tells of a Nazi agent ascending to the synagogue attic during World War II and trying to stab the Golem, but he died instead. When the attic was renovated in 1883, no evidence of the Golem was found. A film crew who visited and filmed the attic in 1984 found no evidence either. The attic is not open to the general public.
Some strictly orthodox Jews believe that the Maharal did actually create a golem. Menachem Mendel Schneerson (the last Rebbe of Lubavitch) wrote that his father-in-law, Yosef Yitzchok Schneersohn, told him that he saw the remains of the Golem in the attic of Alt-Neu Shul. Rabbi Chaim Noach Levin also wrote in his notes on Megillas Yuchsin that he heard directly from Rabbi Yosef Shaul Halevi, the head of the Rabbinical court of Lemberg, that when he wanted to go see the remains of the Golem, the sexton of the Alt-Neu Shul said that Rabbi Yechezkel Landau had advised against going up to the attic after he himself had gone up. The evidence for this belief has been analyzed from an orthodox Jewish perspective by Shnayer Z. Leiman.
IMDb reviewer, artzau, wrote...
When I see these old attempts at what amounted to a horror film back then, before my time and I'm an old duffer, I'm always struck at the marvelous Gothic quality wrought by the twisted buildings, the gnarled stairways, the open balconies and the weird angles of things such as doorways, arches, street, bridges and the like. The monstrosities are stark, hardly terrifying by today's CGIs and often terrifying their victims in an almost comical, stylized way. This marvelous film together with Nosferatu and The Cabinet of Dr. Caligari are marvelous pieces of art. There is an ageless quality to them that transcends the hoary and often corny plots and acting. Each must be taken as a whole because that product is always greater than the sum of their parts. Compare the magical Indian Love Call of Nelson Eddy and Jeanette MacDonald, two rather mainstream singers whose voices blend into something greater than either of their individual talents. So too it is, I contend, with these old Gothic classics. Horror? Hardly. But, their starkness and darkness with its twisted surroundings are still eerie and provoking.
Jewish Virtual Library...
In Jewish tradition, the golem is most widely known as an artificial creature created by magic, often to serve its creator. The word "golem" appears only once in the Bible (Psalms139:16). In Hebrew, "golem" stands for "shapeless mass." The Talmud uses the word as "unformed" or "imperfect" and according to Talmudic legend, Adam is called "golem," meaning "body without a soul" (Sanhedrin 38b) for the first 12 hours of his existence. The golem appears in other places in the Talmud as well. One legend says the prophet Jeremiah made a golem However, some mystics believe the creation of a golem has symbolic meaning only, like a spiritual experience following a religious rite.
The Sefer Yezirah ("Book of Creation"), often referred to as a guide to magical usage by some Western European Jews in the Middle Ages, contains instructions on how to make a golem. Several rabbis, in their commentaries on Sefer Yezirah have come up with different understandings of the directions on how to make a golem. Most versions include shaping the golem into a figure resembling a human being and using God's name to bring him to life, since God is the ultimate creator of life..
According to one story, to make a golem come alive, one would shape it out of soil, and then walk or dance around it saying combination of letters from the alphabet and the secret name of God. To "kill" the golem, its creators would walk in the opposite direction saying and making the order of the words backwards.
Other sources say once the golem had been physically made one needed to write the letters aleph, mem, tav, which is emet and means "truth," on the golem's forehead and the golem would come alive. Erase the aleph and you are left with mem and tav, which is met, meaning "death."
Another way to bring a golem to life was to write God's name on parchment and stick it on the golem's arm or in his mouth. One would remove it to stop the golem.
Often in Ashkenazi Hasidic lore, the golem would come to life and serve his creators by doing tasks assigned to him. The most well-known story of the golem is connected to Rabbi Judah Loew ben Bezalel, the Maharal of Prague (1513-1609). It was said that he created a golem out of clay to protect the Jewish community from Blood Libel and to help out doing physical labor, since golems are very strong. Another version says it was close to Easter, in the spring of 1580 and a Jew-hating priest was trying to incite the Christians against the Jews. So the golem protected the community during the Easter season. Both versions recall the golem running amok and threatening innocent lives, so Rabbi Loew removed the Divine Name, rendering the golem lifeless. A separate account has the golem going mad and running away. Several sources attribute the story to Rabbi Elijah of Chelm, saying Rabbi Loew, one of the most outstanding Jewish scholars of the sixteenth century who wrote numerous books on Jewish law, philosophy, and morality, would have actually opposed the creation of a golem.
The golem has been a popular figure in the arts in the past few centuries with both Jews and non-Jews. In the early 20th century, several plays, novels, movies, musicals and even a ballet were based on the golem. The most famous works where golems appear are Mary Shelley's Frankenstein, Karel Capek's R.U.R. (where the word "robot" comes from), Isaac Bashevis Singer's The Golem and The X-Files. There is also a character named Golem in J.R.R. Tolkien's classic series The Lord of the Rings. Today, there is even a golem museum in the Jewish Quarter of Prague.
"The Golem (1920)"
A clay statue is brought to life in order to save the Jewish ghetto of Prague, but soon turns against his master in this German silent classic.
A man brings an inanimate object to life, an amoral monster whom he hopes to use as a slave. The monster then turns against his master, nearly destroying him in the process.
This is an archetypal story, told many times in literature and film. One of its first cinematic expressions was in THE GOLEM, made in Germany in 1920.
The film is based upon a medieval Jewish legend about a clay figure that is brought to life to serve as a protector of the Jews who live in the Prague ghetto in the year 1580.
Rabbi Loew (Albert Steinruck) sees danger for the Jews in the constellation of the stars and so begins building the Golem. The Golem looks like a cross between a Neanderthal and a totem. The prophecy is soon fulfilled as Emperor Rudolf II (Otto Gebuhr) issues an edict stating that the Jews must leave Prague before the end of the month. He believes that the Jews have started a plague in the city.
Meanwhile, the Rabbi's own daughter Miriam (Lyda Salmonova) has fallen in love with Florian (Lothar Muthel), one of the emperor's courtiers. Eventually, the rabbi's assistant (Ernst Deutsch) finds out about their affair and betrays them.
Through prayer, a circle of fire rises to engulf Rabbi Loew and in this trance-like state he is told that if he places the magic word "Aemaet", the Hebrew word for "truth" or "God," in an amulet and then puts it upon the Golem's chest, the creature will come to life. If the amulet is removed, the creature becomes inanimate again.
The Rabbi then brings the Golem (played by director Paul Wegener) to the Emperor. The Emperor commands the Rabbi to perform a feat of magic. As Loew shows them his vision of the Exodus of the Jews, the courtiers laugh and the building suddenly begins to crumble. Just as it seems as if the building is about to collapse, the Golem saves them by holding up the ceiling with his hands. The Emperor agrees to rescind his edict against the Jews.
Although the Golem has saved the people of the ghetto, the Rabbi knows from the texts he has read that the Golem may eventually destroy them. He resolves to smash the statue, but is called away to celebrate the Jews' great fortune. He leaves the statue on the floor, with the amulet sitting beside it.
THE GOLEM is a film of great power, as hypnotic as a German Expressionist vision of life as a waking dream. The dim light and looming shadow were photographed by Karl Freund, who also shot two German Expressionist masterpieces: Fritz Lang's Metropolis and F.W. Murnau's The Last Laugh. Freund later emigrated to America and eventually became the head cameraman for I Love Lucy.
Hans Poelzig's stylized sets convey the claustrophobia of ghetto life, with curved stone walls and sharply pointed roofs. The two sets of circular stairs the characters climb down to enter the rabbi's study look like the twin chambers of a human heart.
However, THE GOLEM is not really a German Expressionist story; it is more a combination of Jewish mysticism and fairy tale. Director Wegener portrays the supernatural elements of the story without irony or psychological explanation, as if we were truly in medieval Prague, when people would have believed that an amulet and an incantation could bring a clay figure to life.
Wegener's acting performance in THE GOLEM is subtle as he plays a force of nature without conscience or emotion. The Golem is only capable of brute force; therefore violence is inevitable. He quickly learns that he can remain alive if he refuses to let anyone take off the amulet and so he pushes away anyone who tries to remove it. In one of the film's most powerful scenes, the Golem dismissively tosses Florian from the roof of a building and drags Miriam by her braided hair through the narrow stone streets of Prague.
It is easy to see parallels between THE GOLEM and later horror films. For instance, the scene ofOriginal German poster for THE GOLEM the Golem playing with a group of children in a combination of innocence and malevolence would find a parallel in Frankenstein. It is difficult to say how much of a direct influence the film had, but certainly within the next few years, many of the leading figures of German cinema would end up working in the United States.
Wegener made three versions of the Golem myth: The Golem (1915), The Golem and the Dancer, (1917) and this film, subtitled How He Came into the World. (Both of the other versions are lost.) He shows an obvious affinity for Jewish culture in this film; although this is hardly a nuanced vision of the Jewish religion, his characters are free of the anti-Semitic stereotypes that were used casually in films of that period.
It is impossible for a modern audience to watch this film without an awareness of the even greater horror that would soon be inflicted upon the Jews of Europe. Sadly, director Wegener remained in Germany during the war and turned his talents to producing and acting in Nazi propaganda films, eventually winning a commendation from Propaganda Minister Josef Goebbels.
The following film notes were prepared for the New York State Writers Institute by Kevin Jack Hagopian, Senior Lecturer in Media Studies at Pennsylvania State University:
1919's The Cabinet of Dr. Caligari introduced the world to the bizarre sensibilities of German expressionism. Although it arose out of German Romanticism, cinematic expressionism gave voice to the nightmarish fears of the forces of modernity out of control, a vision compelling in its weirdness and dangerous in its implications for democracy -- some have seen in cinematic expressionism an allegory for the rise of Fascism in Germany. 1920's The Golem is a lesson in rendering the uncanny in cinema. Wegener's film gathers to itself ancient story materials and folklore, joining the darkest imaginings of premodern Europe to the new medium of the cinema, and speaking the medieval through the modern.
Writer/director Paul Wegener had long been fascinated by the rabbinical legend of the Golem, the giant clay monster who stood by to save the Jewish citizens of Prague from the anger of an emperor who accused them of the ritualistic murder of children. The tale of the Golem was a folktale, that, like many such tales, grew out of a need to address the unspeakable in a manner as dramatic and horrific as the thing itself, for violent anti-Semitism boiled throughout Europe and the Pale in the 1920s.
Wegener's fascination with the story was singular: he made his first cinematic version of The Golem in 1915, and brought the character back in 1917 in The Golem and the Dancing Girl. But it is Wegener's third version of the tale that is his most unsettling. Wegener charged his designer, Hans Poelzig, the gifted protege of Max Reinhardt, with bringing to life the Jewish ghetto of Prague. As film historian Stephen Hanson has noted, Poelzig designed the settings with cameras and lighting in mind, and in doing so, achieved a more genuinely cinematic expressionist vision than even the vaunted Caligari. The Golem's cinematographer was the brilliant Karl Freund, the most stellar of all directors of photography in the expressionist cinema; his filmography includes such masterworks of the movement F. W. Murnau's The Last Laugh, Fritz Lang's Metropolis, and E.A. DuPont's Variety. Freund closely collaborated with Wegener and Poelzig on the look of The Golem, joining evocative lighting and inventive camera angles to sets and actors' gestures to create an integrated vision of dread. Lighting, in particular, was one of Freund's strengths, and he adroitly supports Wegener's shifts in storytelling tone with lighting effects. With his work on The Golem, Freund shows why he was known as "the Giotto of the screen."
But it is Wegener the actor, in his role as the Golem, who marks the film indelibly. Wegener's Golem, with his monstrous appearance and his trancelike obedience to the command of a legendary megalomaniac, is one of the most significant ancestors of the cinematic Frankenstein of James Whale and Boris Karloff. Huge, avenging and violent, Wegener's Golem terrorizes the enemies of the Hebrews. Yet, however superhuman his attributes, Wegener's creature is undeniably Romantic. Having tasted eternal life, he nonetheless yearns for the fragile mortality of the people he observes. As a timeless invention of Rabbi Loew's supernatural abilities and Nietzchean conscience, the Golem's existence allows him neither pleasure nor pain. Ironically, the Golem envies the uncertainty and finite life of the humans who stand in terror of him. They fear his immortal powers, and he desires a short, passionate, unpredictable life like theirs. The grasping toward humanity by Wegener's beast is one of the most affecting transformations in all of cinema.
The Golem is a richly symbolic narrative drawn from Jewish mythology. But the question remains after the Golem's ultimate fate is decided in a startling instant at the end of the film: is this a sympathetic portrait of the oppression Jews faced throughout Europe, in crowded ghettoes of twisted lanes and dark hovels? Or is The Golem more demented "proof" of Jewish necromancy, another in a long line of paranoid fantasies about Jewish spellmakings over Gentiles? For Paul Wegener, the story of the Golem proved so fascinating that he retold it again and again, rewriting it, directing it, and playing the creature himself, in a remarkable artistic quest to understand the tyrannical power of religious myth.— Kevin Hagopian, Penn State University
A night of stars and mysteries outlines in light some crippled buildings, their roofs put on their walls like the pointed hats on wizards. Seven haloed stars are set in the dark sky above the tallest tower, reaching narrowly to heaven.... TITLE: The learned Rabbi Löw reads in the stars that misfortune threatens the Jews. On the roof of the weird tower marked on each corner by a great stone, Rabbi Löw sits behind an early telescope, studying the constellations. He is bearded with long locks of hair. Through the eye of the telescope, we sweep across the heavens. The Rabbi looks down from his instrument on its pivot and pores over a book on alchemy. He is backed by smoke and a strange light. In the Rabbi's study below, a glass retort bubbles on a flame. Watching it is the Rabbi's pale assistant, FAMULUS, who looks up from his experiment at a girl, MIRIAM, smiling and holding a lamp burning in her hand. Her shoulders are bare, her robe is long, her hair in black braids. The two are in a room made of stone blocks with a domed roof, like a rough-cast observatory. The girl walks sensuously past the fire and the assistant, then puts down the lamp on a table. FAMULUS gestures towards the roof above. There the Rabbi looks up from his book, rises and walks across the roof towards a stairwell. Down some curving stairs, the Rabbi descends until he is standing between MIRIAM and his assistant. TITLE: "I must speak with Rabbi Jehuda. Danger threatens our people." MIRIAM'S face is full of pain. FAMULUS runs to the back of the tower room and returns with a tall pointed bent hat, shaped like the buildings. The Rabbi puts on his magician's hat and leaves. Outside between the dark walls of the ghetto of the medieval city, the Rabbi hurries through the darkness with his assistant carrying a smoking torch. By the light of twin candles, the old Rabbi JEHUDA is reading a large tome. Hearing a noise, he takes off his spectacles and puts up his hand to shield his weak eyes from the glare. Rabbi Löw and his assistant are brought into the older Rabbi's room by a servant carrying a lantern. The two Rabbis strike their hearts three times in ritual woe, then take each other by the hands, their faces full of foreboding. Rabbi Löw warns. TITLE: "Call all the elders of the community together to pray. The stars predict disaster." Old JEHUDA is worried and speaks his fears, as the assistant and the servant listen. Then he gives a command and all leave the room. Now two small windows shine in the blackness and three torches move across the dark towards a gothic arch. Labyrinthine passages are seen through the arches, as six men lead Jewish worshipers towards their prayers. A Jew prays before the Menorah with a shawl over his head. He strikes his heart three times, lifts up his hands and bows forwards. Behind him, men kneel in the darkness and lift their heads into the light, then lean back so that their faces are upside down. They strike their hearts three times and prostrate themselves again. On a rooftop, a black cat stalks the tiles in front of a crooked chimney. The roofs of the houses curve and sidle under the stars. The seven haloed stars over the Rabbi's tower shine bright, then dissolve into a mailed fist holding a written order: INSERT: DECREED AGAINST THE JEWS: We can no longer neglect the complaints of the people against the Jews. They despise the holy ceremonies of Christ. They endanger the lives and property of their fellow-men. They work black magic. We decree that all Jews shall be expelled from the city and all adjoining land before the end of the month. IMPERATOR. Fade to the HOLY ROMAN EMPEROR'S face as he is clearly shown seated in state at his court, wearing rich clothes and signing the decree with a gloved and jeweled hand. When he has finished signing, he picks up a large royal seal and presses it down on some wax. The CHAMBERLAIN hands the decree to a courtier on his left, who puts it into a courier's round satchel, then hands it back to the CHAMBERLAIN, who gives the case to the EMPEROR. Three young courtiers talk as they wait with nothing to do. The EMPEROR smiles and gestures towards the courtiers with the courier's satchel. They are aghast, but one with a feather in his hat runs forward to the EMPEROR, while the others watch his temerity. The EMPEROR speaks to the bold one. TITLE: "Knight Florian, deliver our decree to the Ghetto." As the EMPEROR smiles in front of his attendants, FLORIAN takes the satchel and turns to leave, smiling his satisfaction at his friends. Fade to the hand of Rabbi Löw tracing out an alchemist's drawing of the figure of the GOLEM, a mythical giant with a five-pointed star of Judah on his breast, who may be summoned by the Jews in their hour of need. Hieroglyphs cover the parchment -- instructions on how to make the giant. The hand turns over another page of parchment covered with astrological designs and crabbed writing. The Rabbi is planning. TITLE: "Venus enters the constellation of Libra! Now is the auspicious hour to summon the dead spirit Astaroth, and compel him to reveal the magic word. Then we can bring the Golem to life to save our people." The fingers trace out more of the diagrams, then dissolve to the Rabbi's face as he studies his book by his window. He puts up his hands and rocks back, then bows forwards to the wisdom of the book.
Fade to the knight FLORIAN as he rides on his white horse in front of a huge black wall pierced by an arched gate. On a watchtower, a bell rings and the watchman comes down some steep steps to look over the wall to see who is at the gate. He then hurries down. FLORIAN is still horsed outside the walls. The watchman hurries down masses of winding steps, until he reaches a barred window by the gate. There FLORIAN holds the sealed courier's satchel in one hand, the halter of his horse in the other hand, and a rose between his teeth. The watchman shakes his head, then sees the EMPEROR'S seal and opens the gate for the knight, who is smiling. A doorkeeper pulls down the bar of the gate. FLORIAN now stands by his horse with his hand on his hip and his legs crossed, the casual messenger of bad news. The gate opens and a man takes the horse's halter to lead it into the city. FLORIAN follows, the rose between his teeth. In her chamber, MIRIAM combs her dark tresses. The walls are covered with patterns of flowers and weeping leaves. In his study, Rabbi Löw looks up in pain from the parchment which he puts aside. He closes a large book, puts it in a recess, then crosses to the doors leading into the room and locks them. Restlessly, he moves in and out of the arches of the chamber. Round him, the glass beakers of his experiments. His passing takes him now into a dark small room with a triangular window, where he pulls aside a rug and opens a trapdoor. He climbs down through it into a secret corridor with lines on its wall ending in a triangular door, sealed with a metal strip ornamented with hieroglyphs. Rabbi Löw cuts through the seal with his knife and pushes the door open. In the secret room, the Rabbi passes a diagram of the GOLEM fixed to the wall and pulls down from an arched window a huge slab on twin cross-bars. Two other diagrams of the GOLEM are now seen near a lump of clay, roughly fashioned in the shape of a giant. Rabbi Löw now begins to work at the eyes of the monster, pushing at the clay and molding the face of the GOLEM. Fade to FLORIAN, as the watchman leads him and his horse down the steps and through the streets of the city. Between the heavy dark walls, people run about to watch him and wait on top of the arches of the massed buildings. The EMPEROR'S messenger has come. In his study, the old Rabbi JEHUDA is ready at his table. A limping spry man comes in and taps him on his shoulder. TITLE: "A messenger from the Emperor is here." JEHUDA signals the man to bring in the stranger while he takes off his glasses, uncomprehending, and puts his hand over his tired eyes. Fade to FLORIAN, as the man brings him in to see JEHUDA. The courtier hands the Rabbi the imperial decree with a grand flourish, then leans back against the middle arch of the room, crossing his ankles, one hand on his hip, gaily swinging the rose with his free hand and reading the decree over the old Jew's shoulder. JEHUDA drops the scroll and puts his hands over his heart in shock. He moves beside FLORIAN and speaks to the knight, who is full of disdain. TITLE: "Come with me to the Chief Rabbi Löw, who is like a father to our whole community." As JEHUDA is scraping and bowing, FLORIAN nods. The old Rabbi reaches out to kiss the dandy knight's sleeve, but FLORIAN jerks away, and they leave together. Fade to the Rabbi Löw kneading a mass of clay in his hands as he studies the diagrams. He turns and smears the clay on the GOLEM'S face. His hands work at the features of the monster. Fade to the ghetto street outside Löw's tower, where FLORIAN is walking with a crowd leading his horse. MIRIAM is putting her hair up under a coif, when she hears the noise in the street, looks out of the window, and moves with joy to see the handsome knight below. The walls rise, slant and beamed and high, above FLORIAN and his horse, as the ground swallows them up. From the street, JEHUDA is made to look up by FLORIAN tapping his shoulder. MIRIAM leans out of her window, looking down and smiling. FLORIAN looks up and waves his rose at her. MIRIAM looks down in delight. Beside the knight, JEHUDA gestures towards the door of the house. MIRIAM nods and draws her head back inside the window. Below, the old Rabbi explains to FLORIAN who the girl is. Inside Löw's study, MIRIAM runs over to the assistant FAMULUS and tells him of the arrival of the EMPEROR'S messenger. As he runs off, she folds her arms and sighs. In his secret room, the Rabbi Löw works on the GOLEM'S clay face, now smooth and humanoid. He looks upwards, then moves over to the arched window. He places the slab over it, plunging the room into darkness. Then he opens the door of the room, letting in the light as he goes out. Finally he closes the door on the GOLEM in its black sepulcher. Fade to Löw's study where the assistant ushers in the haughty FLORIAN and the old JEHUDA. When Löw comes in, he bows and takes the knight back through an arch to a dark recess, where there are some heavy curved chairs set under stalactites which grow out of shell-like niches. As FLORIAN toys with his rose, the Chief Rabbi speaks. TITLE: "It was I who drew the Emperor's horoscope. I warned him of danger twice. Tell him now that I humbly ask for an audience with him." FLORIAN smiles and nods while the two Rabbis speak together. MIRIAM comes in, holding a large goblet and a bowl of fruit, which she sets on a table before offering the goblet to the knight. In answer to her smile, FLORIAN grins toothily, showing the gap between his front teeth. MIRIAM looks away, smiling, then lowers her lids in false shyness. The two Rabbis look at each other, then off at the two young people. MIRIAM now drinks out of the goblet herself before offering it to the knight, who slyly turns the goblet round to kiss the brim and drink out of the same place as she did. He gives his rose to the girl. She plays with it softly. Fade again to the starry night sky with the seven stars haloed in the heavens, then dissolve to a star of David made of cracked clay, then dissolve to the powerful face and shoulders of the finished GOLEM, its eyes closed, crowned by a mass of clay hair. Löw stands with his hand on the standing monster's chest. propped against the wall of his secret room. TITLE: "The hour has come!" He looks up at the diagram, then bends to pull the GOLEM forward. He takes its weight on his shoulder, struggles, then pushes the clay monster back upright. His heart has been strained, so he massages it before leaving the room. FAMULUS is heating a prong at the forge when the trapdoor opens behind him and Löw appears. The Rabbi's assistant drops the hot iron in terror, as his master comes up behind him and takes him by the shoulders and speaks. TITLE: "Guard this secret with your life." The assistant rolls his eyes as the Rabbi takes his hand and leads him over to the trapdoor. TITLE: Knight Florian brings the Emperor's answer. FLORIAN rides into the ghetto and stops between two rows of houses with gables hanging askew, aslant. He claps his hands and a man appears at a high window. He waves a sheet of parchment, and people run up to the EMPEROR'S messenger on his horse. In his secret room. Löw demonstrates the GOLEM to his assistant, pointing to the star of David on the monster's chest, then to the diagram on the wall. FAMULUS rolls his eyes with wonder and terror. In the study, MIRIAM shows FLORIAN to a carved bench. As she tries to leave, he catches her hand and draws her down beside him. Their breathing quickens, their lips near, his hand touches her breast, her hands cover his before ending on his chest. Faint with desire, the pair lean back on the bench. Fade to Löw and his assistant struggling with the body of the GOLEM up the steep corridor. The wrapped head of the monster is pushed through the trapdoor. Back on the bench, FLORIAN keeps his hand over MIRIAM'S heart as he whispers in her ear and she smiles. Fade to FAMULUS unwrapping the head of the GOLEM. He and the Rabbi push the monster towards the arched doorway. Löw moves over to the triangular window to look out. He sees below ... The white horse being led up and down between two rows of people and the narrow walls of the ghetto. Seeing everybody's attention safely elsewhere. Löw locks the doors of the room while his assistant closes the trapdoor. Fade back to the couple on the carved bench with their arms round each other. Rabbi Löw comes on, his face full of worry. The couple spring up as he passes and FLORIAN gives him the parchment with an embarrassed flourish. As MIRIAM backs away, her finger to her lips, the Rabbi reads the scroll: INSERT: In memory of your services we will grant you an audience. Come to the Festival at the Castle, and amuse us again with your magical arts. FLORIAN and the ecstatic MIRIAM glance at each other. Rabbi Löw looks up from the scroll, smiling. He speaks to FLORIAN, who puts on his hat and walks, grinning, past MIRIAM. The Rabbi passes her and scowls and follows the knight out of the room. MIRIAM runs over to the window. Outside the tower. FLORIAN appears with the Rabbi and takes the halter of his horse. The people watch below the tall buildings. MIRIAM backs away from the window and cowers, her arm over her head, expecting punishment. When Löw comes back into the room, he lectures her as she shakes her head. He points towards the bench, but she still denies his charges. So he takes her wrists, forces her to kneel and grips her by the neck, threatening her. TITLE: "You shame me, but I will soon have a guardian for you." The Rabbi stops throttling the frightened MIRIAM. who presses her face against his legs in submission. On a road over a bridge, FLORIAN rides his horse, outlined against the sky.
Löw's hand opens the leather cover of a book, intricately decorated. Inside, a drawing of the GOLEM with crabbed writing at its side. On the other page, a German text: INSERT: This figure, called the Golem, was made long ago by a magician of Thessaly. If you place the magic word in the amulet on its breast, it will live and breathe as long as it wears it. Fade from the open book to Löw and his assistant poring over it, then fade again to them as the assistant looks up in fear and the Rabbi tells him to be brave. Löw closes the book and picks up a hollow Star of David and a piece of paper. Then he opens another old tome and reads its text. INSERT: Astaroth guards the magic word which can give life even today. He who possesses the key of Solomon can force Astaroth to reveal the word, if he observes the due hour of the meeting of the planets. The Rabbi looks at his assistant as he closes the old book. He takes the Star of David and folds up the pieces of paper to fit the hollow inside the star. On the chest of the GOLEM, there is a clay circle waiting for the star. Löw moves towards the monster, while his frightened assistant lags behind, his hands over his face. Löw forces the hands of FAMULUS apart so that he must watch the Rabbi pointing to the circle on the GOLEM'S chest. Now the Rabbi wears his wizard's hat, ornamented with cabbalistic symbols and the Star of David. He has a wand in his hand, which he brings down, raises, brings down. FAMULUS watches, rigid with terror. Löw continues with his magic ceremony, drawing a circle about him with the wand. Fade to him, now standing within a ring of fire. He pulls his assistant into the charmed circle, and suddenly a clay Star of David appears at the end of his wand, while he waves thrice. FAMULUS grips his master in fear. Three lighted torches flare above the Rabbi and his assistant in their ring of flames. FAMULUS begins to faint and slide to the floor, while the Rabbi also weakens, sinks down, holding the clay star above him. TITLE: "Astaroth, Astaroth, appear, appear! Speak the word!" Löw's face is distorted as he holds up the clay star. A demon's head appears by the Rabbi and his assistant. It burns and floats, its forehead huge above its bulging white eyes, smoke curling from its black lips. Löw cries out in fear. From the mouth of Astaroth, the smoke writes the magic word: AEMAET. Now the clay star blazes at the end of the Rabbi's wand and he throws it outside the circle of fire. Then he pulls off his wizard's hat and staggers round the ring of flames, trying to get out. Finally he collapses, his arms stretched wide, as the center of the circle explodes in a flash of white light. As the smoke clears, the Rabbi is seen crouching over his unconscious assistant. Outside the tower, the smoke flies up to the sky from a small window. Inside his room, Löw drags FAMULUS over to a bench, shakes him and wakens him. He points at the paper in his hand and the clay figure of the GOLEM. FAMULUS tries to stop his master, but Löw seizes the pen, dips it in ink and begins to write. The thick quill writes out the word ... AEMAET. The Rabbi finishes writing, then runs over to the GOLEM and signals FAMULUS to help him move the monster. The two of them stand the GOLEM in front of some crooked steps. The Rabbi puts the paper inside the hollow Star of David, then screws it into a socket inside the clay circle in the GOLEM'S chest. Immediately, the eyelids of the GOLEM open, his clay head moves, as FAMULUS backs away. The GOLEM'S face is blank, its eyes open and white, the mask of clay hiding any form of intelligence. The Rabbi looks at his creation. The GOLEM turns, its mouth severe. It has ropes tied on its arms, narrow legs and heavy shoes. The assistant crouches on the steps, ready to run. The GOLEM looks at Löw, who backs away. Then it rocks, its eyes staring wide. It moves forwards, swinging its legs clumsily like lead weights on poles. As it reaches the Rabbi. Löw orders the monster to stop. It does stop. Then the Rabbi orders the GOLEM to walk away. It obeys him, knocking over the assistant who happens to be in its way. Then it halts on Löw's order. Hesitant and fearful, Löw approaches his monster and pulls the Star of David out of its socket. The eyes of the GOLEM Shut, it rocks on its feet and falls back against the wall. The Rabbi and his assistant look at the lifeless monster, then begin to praise the Lord. Now the GOLEM is seen swinging an axe, then by a well, splitting logs. One blow is enough to cut a huge log in half. Two men look down watching the GOLEM at work below their window. Four children peep over the wall at the toiling monster. The GOLEM moves with the logs, then looks upwards. Its master, the Rabbi, is leaning out of his tower window. The GOLEM stumps up to the well. The Rabbi signals with his arm. The GOLEM nods twice jerkily, unties the well rope and begins to pull up a bucket of water. Inside his tower room, Löw turns to sit at his table by the window while MIRIAM rushes in to point out the monster at work. The GOLEM pulls a bucket of water from the well. In the room, MIRIAM is upset, but the Rabbi lays down the law. TITLE: "This is my new servant, Golem." MIRIAM looks fearful and glances out of the window. TITLE: The Golem's first appearance on the street. FAMULUS comes out of a small archway in a timbered wall, signaling the huge GOLEM to follow him with a large basket. The monster looks pleased at its first sight of the ghetto. Now it moves between the high walls, making two men flee for their lives. But some children run up to it and skip around it, while it swings its basket at them. Now the children run down some steps, while mothers pull their babies away from the passing monster and the Rabbi's assistant. In an apothecary's shop, a man and a woman and a boy are working over a table scattered with herbs. The door is pushed open by the GOLEM, which knocks over a stool and stands by the counter. The three people in the shop are terrified. The monster reaches into its basket for its shopping list and stiffly holds the list out in its gloved fist. Now FAMULUS runs into the shop to explain. As he does so, the GOLEM turns to glare at the hated assistant. TITLE: "This is the Rabbi's new servant. He cannot speak, but he will not hurt you. He will come to you every day, with a list of the articles we need." On the assistant's signal, the man and the woman begin to pull down the herbs from racks above. Fade to FLORIAN, now standing by the city gate and arguing with the watchman. He puts a folded letter between his teeth so that he can bring up his purse and drop coins one by one over his shoulder into the watchman's open palm. Five coins complete the bribe. The watchman's hand takes the note, and FLORIAN grins his delight. Fade to the Rabbi's laboratory, where FAMULUS is leading in the GOLEM, who is carrying the herbs and the basket and other loads. The assistant smiles and takes the herbs from the monster, but it will not give up the basket. The assistant backs away, telling the GOLEM to put out its arm. It does so with a jerk, nearly knocking FAMULUS over; but now he can get the basket from the monster. The assistant tries to get more work from the GOLEM. He taps down the monster's arm, then takes it over to the spit, where there is a large bellows worked by a handle over the fire FAMULUS demonstrates how to work the handle, which the GOLEM does with such vigor that the assistant has to leap from the flare of the flames fanned by the bellows. Löw watches the comedy, considering. The assistant runs from the room, as the GOLEM makes the fire spurt high. FAMULUS runs up to the Rabbi, who walks over to the monster and raises his hand in a curt command. The GOLEM stops working the bellows and leaves the room at Löw's order. The Rabbi turns to his assistant. TITLE: "Today I go to show the Golem to the Emperor. Stay and guard my house." Löw moves across to speak to the GOLEM, which follows its master out, leaving the assistant behind. Fade to a high tower and a wall, with MIRIAM entering, her scarf blowing in the wind, her arms held high. She walks over to another tower, more leaning than Pisa's, and meets the watchman there. He hands the folded letter to her and disappears, while she opens it, smiles to read it, folds it up and kisses the words of her lover. Fade into a road over a bridge, where the Rabbi is leading the GOLEM towards the EMPEROR. TITLE: The Rose Festival. Four trumpeters stand on a balcony festooned with banners hanging from stag's horns. They blow their brass notes to north, east, south and west. In the EMPEROR'S hall, two rows of men with torches, two rows of girls in bright dresses dance and whirl to the music. Above them, six musicians puff and blow wind instruments from a balcony. The men dance with their torches held high. The courtiers round the EMPEROR'S throne, link arms, and sway to the music. A jester mocks the girl with the EMPEROR. FLORIAN runs out of the hall. Two tall knights with feathered helmets stand on either side of an open heavy door, through which FLORIAN comes, closing it behind him before dashing off. The dancing men still whirl with their torches. Fade to MIRIAM, bare-shouldered under her turban, as she reads FLORIAN'S letter. INSERT: "At the time chosen by the Emperor to see your father, I will leave the castle and come to you. I have bribed the watchman. Place a light in your window as a sign that you are waiting for me, Florian." MIRIAM'S face is hot in the lamplight as she closes her eyes and puts her forehead to the letter. Fade back to the dancers, as they part, holding their torches high. The two knights at the heavy door stop the Rabbi and the GOLEM as they enter. Löw explains the reason for his coming and is allowed to enter. More knights cluster round the GOLEM, staring at it. In the hall, Löw walks towards the EMPEROR. He looks strange in his dark cloak and pointed wizard's hat. He bows low before the EMPEROR and kisses his ring. The EMPEROR pats him, condescending, while the jester leers. Two beautiful girls with jeweled circlets on their foreheads smile, then suddenly go white with fear to see: The GOLEM, towering and blinking by the door. Now the EMPEROR and his girl see the monster. The EMPEROR asks Löw about it and is impressed. The Rabbi raises his hand. The GOLEM moves down the hall between the dancers, who fall back in fear. One of the musicians stops playing and stares with a slack mouth, then taps the shoulder of another musician, whose mouth also drops open. The music from the balcony stops. The EMPEROR'S guests draw back in terror. The GOLEM moves down the hall straight at the EMPEROR'S throne. Three girls shrink back, crouching on the floor. The GOLEM comes to a halt before its creator and the EMPEROR. Rabbi Löw explains. TITLE: "He is my creature, called Golem. I may not tell you more." As the Rabbi and the EMPEROR move away, girls surround the GOLEM like a plaything. Greatly daring, one girl touches its cheek. It snaps back at her and all the girls dart back. Now another girl shrugs and offers the monster a flower. It looks at the flower in its hand, then slowly reaches out to touch the girl's head in gratitude. But the girls dart away from its touch, and it stares after this beauty vanishing, lost. Its face is sad as it learns its own horror. Fade to FLORIAN creeping back across the road bridge. Fade back to the Rabbi, the EMPEROR and the GOLEM. The EMPEROR'S girl elbows the monster, but it does not move. She stands, smiling her triumph at her lover, while he turns to put a hand on Löw's shoulder. TITLE: "What kind of miracle can you show us today, you strange magician?" As the EMPEROR folds his arms, the Rabbi becomes grave and raises his hands and his eyes towards heaven. TITLE: "I will show you the history of our people and our fathers. If you value your lives, no one must speak nor laugh." The EMPEROR smiles and shouts to the guests and waves his hand above his head. They toss flowers in the air and laugh their pleasure. Fade to FLORIAN running into the dark arch of the doorway of Löw's tower. He stops to look upwards. MIRIAM appears in a white gown and pulls him inside. In a dark hall of the tower, a single lamp shines on MIRIAM pausing to sink into the knight's arms and kiss him. Then she leads him on into the darkness. FAMULUS lies asleep at a table, the Rabbi's books open in front of him. Fade back to the EMPEROR'S COURT, where all are seated with their backs to us while Rabbi Löw stands on a platform. Behind him, stone branches weave in and around a niche in the wall. The Rabbi raises his hands. There is an explosion of white flame. Fiery particles shoot out and scare the EMPEROR'S guests. Now the Rabbi raises his hands again. There is a flare of light and as the guests wonder, we see two lines of people toiling across the desert. Now superimposed over the EMPEROR'S hall, we see the three Wise Kings, Mary on the donkey's back with the Christ child, and the wandering tribes of Israel. Löw's eyes burn as he summons up the history of the Jews. The people about the EMPEROR all watch intently. In a group round a young man, a girl whispers. He puts a finger to his lips to hush her. The musicians in the balcony stare downwards. The GOLEM watches the magic show between two of the EMPEROR'S knights. Now Moses appears superimposed over the imperial hall. The jester giggles and nudges the EMPEROR'S girl. Then he grimaces and makes her laugh. This makes the EMPEROR laugh. Following their master's lead, all the courtiers laugh as the jester waves them on to more derision. Moses walks towards the mocking guests, his staff threatening them. Löw raises his hands in an incantation. Moses looms over the laughing courtiers. Löw's face is fearful. Now Moses towers over the EMPEROR himself. He conjures up a lightning flash. Smoke fills the hall. Seven frightened faces stare up like the haloed stars. Above them, three ceiling beams fall down between the pillars of the hall. Dust showers the milling mob of courtiers. The beams slide further down between the pillars. The courtiers panic, fight, choke in the dust. The musicians cower on the balcony. The beams crush still further down on the people. The GOLEM stands at the door of the hall, its arms spread blocking the way out. One frightened girl kneels in front of it, begging its mercy: but the GOLEM shakes its head and bars the door. A beam falls off its shoulder and crashes down on a man. The rest shrink back. Other beams fall about the frantic jester and the frightened courtiers, who begin to attack one another and fight their way out. Rabbi Löw stays standing by the EMPEROR and his girl. The courtiers attack each other to scramble out of holes in the cracking walls and windows. Now outside the hall, people are seen falling out of the windows between the great pillars which support the palace. Löw stretches up his hands to heaven as more courtiers panic by the EMPEROR, who seizes the Rabbi and shakes him from his trance. TITLE: "Save me, and I will pardon your people." The Rabbi smiles faintly and reaches out his hand and cries out to his monster. By the door, the GOLEM nods and moves from the main doorway. As the Rabbi and the EMPEROR and the courtiers move away, the ceiling falls where they have been standing. They step their way over the prostrate wounded to where the GOLEM lurches up onto a stone platform and puts his shoulders and hands under some fallen beams. The monster strains mightily at the falling roof. The beams part into a triangle of escape for the people crouching behind, including the Rabbi and the EMPEROR ... Fade to the road bridge, across which the Rabbi is returning with his monster. Now FLORIAN is seen with his head on MIRIAM'S breast as she lies back on her pillows, the two drapes of her bed in a triangle of escape behind her. Now fade to a tall arched gate in the city wall, where Löw pulls the cord of the bell, while the GOLEM waits. The watchman is asleep in the bell tower, while a bird is asleep on the bell itself. As the bell rings, the bird flies off and the watchman springs up, looks over the wall and rushes off, down some steps. The gate opens to let in the Rabbi and the GOLEM. The Rabbi tells the watchman the good news, his hand on the other's shoulder. TITLE: "We are saved! The Emperor has withdrawn his decree. Wake my sleeping brothers with the glad sound of the Schofa horn." The smiling watchman kisses Löw's sleeve, then leads him and the GOLEM into the city. Fade to MIRIAM'S bed, where she is asleep with FLORIAN on the floor beside her. She wakes in fear and rouses FLORIAN, who is also afraid. She rises from her bed in her long white nightgown, her black braids reaching nearly to her ankles. Her lover holds her gown and the curtains of the bed, then lets her free to go to the window. Below in the courtyard, Rabbi Löw and the GOLEM go towards their tower while the watchman runs back up the steps to sound the horn from the ghetto wall. MIRIAM comes back fearfully from the window, takes FLORIAN'S hand, then locks the door of her bedroom. The Rabbi leads his monster back into his study, takes off his hat and cloak, then turns to put his hand on the GOLEM'S shoulder. It stares at him with sudden hatred. Löw slowly takes back his hand. The GOLEM sneers, one white eye ablaze. Löw slowly reaches for the Star of David on the monster's chest, but it holds its clay hand over its source of life. The Rabbi backs away from his creation, then crouches over a table. The GOLEM'S face convulses with fury, its teeth bared. The Rabbi cowers at the table. The monster raises its hand, ready to strike. It moves round behind the Rabbi, but it is too slow. Löw pulls out the Star of David from its chest and it drops its hand, rocks and falls back lifeless. Now the Rabbi crouches down by his unmoving monster and puts his hand on its clay face. From the ghetto wall, the watchman blows the Schofa horn. A man pokes his head out of a small window. As the horn sounds again, men talk from the windows. The horn sounds yet again. A woman appears at a little window, then a thin man in a doorway shorter than he is. He joins three other men dressed like himself in pointed hats and black gowns. Women gather around them and wave at the ghetto wall. The horn sounds again. There is general excitement, as the Jews come out into the streets. One man stands on a platform, waving his hands in the air, while the crowd surrounds him. TITLE: "Let us rejoice." The crowd begins to dance, throw their hats away, shout. The watchman sounds his horn yet again. A group of men run down to help the old Rabbi JEHUDA to climb some steps. Fade to FAMULUS, the Rabbi's assistant, as he wakes from his sleep and hurries to the window, then returns to his bed to put his coat on. Fade to the Rabbi reading from his old books of magic with the clay figure of the GOLEM stretched out at his feet. His hands trace out the German text: INSERT: If you have brought the dead to life through magic, beware! When Uranus comes into the House of the Planets, Astaroth will take back his creature. Then the dead clay will scorn its Master and destroy him and all living things. The Rabbi looks down from his book at the lying monster. TITLE: "Your work, Golem, is done. Turn to lifeless clay again, before the powers of darkness take their revenge." Löw closes his book, rises and picks up a large wooden mallet, ready to smash the GOLEM to pieces. But FAMULUS runs in and stops him. TITLE: "Master, Jehuda waits below with the elders to escort you to the Synagogue for the Ceremony of Thanksgiving." Löw looks off with his assistant to see: Twelve men carrying the Ark of the Covenant between them on long poles. They are surrounded by other men blowing the Schofa horns with people kneeling about them. In her bedroom above, MIRIAM pushes FLORIAN back from the light into the shadows. They hold each other in fear and love, looking wildly for an escape. She counsels him. TITLE: "After all have gone, steal through that gate." MIRIAM points the direction to FLORIAN, then sinks back in his arms. Rabbi Löw comes through a low arch to meet old JEHUDA and go with him into the street. FAMULUS watches the two men leave. Out in the streets of the ghetto, the jammed people wave and shout between the tall crooked buildings. Waving tall fans in the shape of palm-leaves, the people part to let the Ark of the Covenant pass along the narrow street. FAMULUS watches the procession, smiling from Löw's doorway. The procession moves on towards the Synagogue. Fade to MIRIAM and her lover, crouched by the window of her room. Fade back to FAMULUS, as the crowd moves off after the Ark. He runs after them, then runs back below the tower, struck by a happy thought. TITLE: "I will be the first to bring the glad news to Miriam." He runs into the doorway. Then he runs up to the door outside MIRIAM's room and bangs the metal ring on the wood to warn her. MIRIAM runs to press herself against the bedroom door and listen. She holds out a hand to hush FLORIAN. FAMULUS shouts his excitement to her on the other side of the door. She shouts back, shaking her head. TITLE: "I am not ready. Go ... And I will follow." She shouts, shaking her head with her eyes closed. FAMULUS holds onto the ring on the door. He is gay and persuasive. TITLE: "No, I will wait and take you to the Synagogue." He grins and leans sighing back against the room wall. FLORIAN rushes across to speak with MIRIAM. She silences him with a hand across his mouth, but he whispers on. The smile of FAMULUS outside the door begins to fade. Inside the room, the lovers whisper before MIRIAM puts her hand again over FLORIAN'S mouth. FAMULUS presses his ear against the locked door, then draws back, his eyes wild. Inside the room, the lovers clutch each other, knowing they are discovered. FAMULUS is mad with jealousy. He runs off in the Rabbi's study and searches for the Star of David. Once it is found, he bends to screw it into the lying GOLEM'S chest. The monster rises, stiff and upright, to its feet. It sneers at the dazed FAMULUS. As it lurches towards him, he points off with both of his hands, and he shouts: TITLE: "There is a stranger in there who has brought shame upon us. Seize him!" As FAMULUS rages, so the GOLEM'S wrath grows. It lurches forwards, making the Rabbi's assistant cower back. Then it marches to the closed door and hammers the wood with its fist. Inside the room, the lovers shrink together. The GOLEM pounds on the door. The couple cringe. The GOLEM looks at the assistant, who mimes the action of smashing his arms through the wood. The GOLEM crashes its fists straight through the door. MIRIAM faints into her lover's arms. The GOLEM pushes in the door as FAMULUS leans against the wall and grins. Then the monster moves to look into the room, while the Rabbi's assistant sidles into the doorway to watch the fun over the GOLEM'S shoulder. FLORIAN notices something at his feet, while MIRIAM lies swooning in his arms. The GOLEM bares his teeth while the assistant shows his own teeth with a grin. FLORIAN leaves MIRIAM on the ground, then leans down to seize a dagger lying on the floor among the splintered panels from the wrecked door. He leaps at the GOLEM and stabs it. The dagger breaks in his hand, and the monster cuffs him away. The GOLEM lumbers over to MIRIAM and grabs her long braids. FLORIAN pulls her away and attacks the GOLEM, which gives him a violent blow. FAMULUS turns smiling to the girl on the ground. FLORIAN tries to escape down the steps through the hall. But the GOLEM pursues him, blocking his escape. FLORIAN runs up the flight of curving stairs that leads to the roof. FAMULUS grabs MIRIAM by the arm, but she rouses herself and begins to struggle. She breaks free and runs out, followed by her attacker. On the top of the tower between the great stones at each corner, the tiny figure of FLORIAN appears, running from his doom. He crouches in the corner of the tower, the broken dagger in his hand. The head of the ravening GOLEM appears through the small opening in the tower roof. It is as much clay as the tiles. FLORIAN crouches, ready to defend himself. The GOLEM is berserk. It stalks the knight across the tower roof. It seizes him as he struggles. It carries him to the edge of the drop. It throws him over. From beneath the tower, we see the GOLEM staring downwards. Now we look down on the broken body of FLORIAN, who has been smashed to death on the logs split by the monster in the shadow of the tower. MIRIAM runs up the curving stairs to the tower roof. Behind her, the assistant. She puts her head through the hole in the roof, then shrieks and shrinks back against FAMULUS, who is also cowering with terror. The girl and the assistant now run out onto the roof. The GOLEM knocks the assistant down and seizes the girl. It carries her down the winding stairs. She lies fainting in the monster's arms. It lays her out on a table in the Rabbi's study, then puts its hands on her face and looks closely at her. Slowly the GOLEM passes a huge clay hand over MIRIAM'S throat, over her breasts, over her hip. It stares down, its mouth slashed in a strange smile. It looks down curious, intent. Its eyes roll white in their sockets. The assistant runs down the tower stairs, pauses, then runs on. MIRIAM looks up, then faints again. The GOLEM holds the girl's head in its hands, its face close to hers. FAMULUS runs in, stops, reaches slowly for the Star of David on the monster's breast. But the GOLEM puts one huge hand over the talisman. It pushes the assistant back with its free hand, while MIRIAM stirs on the table. It lifts a huge fist. MIRIAM shrieks from the table. The GOLEM rages in front of the assistant, who puts up his hands like claws in front of his white face. Then he runs at the monster, which beats him to the ground and seizes a burning log from the fire. MIRIAM falls off the table in another faint. The monster threatens FAMULUS with the burning brand, then puts the flame to the bottom of the stairs. One of the Rabbi's chemical jars explodes and fire licks up about the steps. The GOLEM rages through the blazing room. It seizes MIRIAM by her braids, drags her off. Smoke billows out of the tower window. The GOLEM stares at the flames. It picks up a blazing piece of wood and brandishes it, the girl's hair still knotted in its other hand. Fade to candles burning over JEHUDA and Löw and a third Rabbi as they pray over their Holy Book in the Synagogue. Behind them, a host of hands reaching up like candle flames in the darkness. Through the bowing worshipers, FAMULUS forces his way until he is stopped. He speaks wildly, moves on. Some old men in the Synagogue whisper and mutter. The assistant is now speaking to his master and JEHUDA: TITLE: "Your house is on fire. The Golem is berserk." While FAMULUS speaks, the Rabbis bow to the altar. The old men begin to push their way out. The crowd now begins to jostle its way out, followed by the Rabbis. The street outside Löw's tower is now jammed with the crowd. Smoke pours out of the tower window. The GOLEM stands in a fiery arch, the braids of the girl knotted round its fist. It lurches on, dragging her behind it. Below the tower, the crowd watches, as the roof catches ablaze. FAMULUS runs on with Löw and JEHUDA and some of the crowd behind him. They stop to stare at more broken bodies lying on the stairs below the fiery arch. A raving man is caught by Löw and his assistant. TITLE: "The demon has carried Miriam away. It is destroying everything." The raving man looks up to see with the others: White smoke pouring from the dark walls. We look down now from the high roofs onto the packed crowd milling in the street below. Smoke drifts through the air. The Jews sink to their knees on the stairs, imploring their Chief Rabbi Löw. TITLE: "Rabbi, save us, or we shall all be destroyed!" The Rabbi nods, then climbs the steps between the people and stands framed by the arch in front of the smoke. He bids all kneel, then goes on himself into the inferno, his arms raised above his head. The GOLEM is now dragging MIRIAM by the hair across a field of stones in front of a huge wall, held up by buttresses of boulders. Flames blaze from an arch in the burning ghetto. Löw appears in front of his burning tower, his arms held high. A thatched roof is ripped by flame. The people kneel and pray between the burning buildings. The Rabbi prays to heaven amid the clouds of smoke. Thick smoke billows from the tower, fills the street. The people rise and fall in their prayers. The timbers blaze above them. Smoke blots out the praying Jews. The Rabbi is also lost in the smoke. His tower falls in a pillar of fire. The whole ghetto smokes like Gomorrah. The Rabbi moves his arms in circles, begging his God. The GOLEM drags MIRIAM over to a smooth rock in front of a ridged wall. It lays her out on this sacrificial altar. It bends over her, then looks about itself wildly, then bends to look at the girl again. She does not move. It does not understand. It shakes its head, lumbers away. The Rabbi finishes his prayers, then leaves through a dark arch in front of the pointed roofs of the town. MIRIAM opens her eyes weakly, then faints again on her rock. High on the ridged wall, Löw appears. He looks down and sees MIRIAM. He runs down some curving steps and embraces her. He pulls her up to him, strokes her face. The people rise and fall in prayer, as JEHUDA and other Jews move through the crowd, embracing each other, joyful. JEHUDA speaks: TITLE: "Let us show our gratitude to the great Rabbi Löw." Led by the Rabbis, the crowd moves between the high walls, shouting and running. Fade to Löw and MIRIAM on the stone, as FAMULUS comes up to them. TITLE: "Rabbi Löw, the people have come to thank you for saving them." The Rabbi rises and takes his leave, while the assistant sits by the girl and takes her hand. As she looks away in shame, he speaks: TITLE: "The Rabbi's tower has fallen and the stranger is buried in its ruins. No one knows nor suspects. I shall be silent for ever. Will you pardon me?" MIRIAM turns and buries her head in the assistant's neck. By the great city gates, the GOLEM appears. It stares from side to side, then moves on. It stops by the gates to look through a small window. It sees outside the walls: Pretty children in wispy dresses playing in the sun. One lifts another up to put flowers on the top of a statue of a child on a column. Now the children dance in a circle outside the great gates. The GOLEM pushes at the gates. The children stop their play to watch and listen. The GOLEM strains at the gates. The beam holding the doors together breaks in two. The monster opens the gates in the bright sunlight outside the ghetto. The children are frightened. They turn and run away, their dresses floating, flowers in their hair. One small child stays where it is, and bursts into tears. Slowly the GOLEM comes out of the gate. The monster stares and smiles gently. A small girl sits on the ground, looking curiously back. She has one shoulder bare. The GOLEM lumbers over to stand in front of the little girl, who rises to look at the monster. She offers it an apple. The GOLEM picks her up, holds her against its chest. The little girl puts the apple into the GOLEM'S mouth. It smiles and looks around. She drops the apple, plays with the Star of David on the monster's chest. Easily, simply, her fingers take out the Star, drop it on the ground. The GOLEM lets the little girl fall, rocks, crashes down. The little girl stands at the feet of the lifeless monster. She jumps over its huge shoes of clay and runs to its clay head. She waves to the other children, then runs off. Fade to the crowd, pressing forwards to see Rabbi Löw with the wizard's hats of the pointed ghetto roofs askew behind. Löw raises his head from the blessing of the old Rabbi JEHUDA, then asks the question all wish to ask. TITLE: "But where is the Golem?" The crowd begins to split up to start the search. The little girl leads on the other children to play with the fallen GOLEM. They swarm all over the huge body of the monster, poking it, feeling the clay. The little girl shows them the Star of David. The talisman is passed through the children's hands. Then the Star is tossed in the air, thrown away, lost. Inside the ghetto, the watchman rushes up to Rabbi Löw. TITLE: "The gate has been broken open! The Golem is by there!" He leads Löw and the crowd off. The children now sit on the GOLEM'S body in rows. Their hands are full of flowers; flowery its body. Now from the gate of the city, the Rabbi and the dark crowd come. The children rise and run away from the monster, while Löw and the Jews surround the fallen GOLEM in a half-circle of black figures. Löw raises his hands and face yet again to God. TITLE: "Praise Jehovah, for He has shown His love for His people three times today." Löw drops his hands and the crowd kneels in the half-circle and all along the line of people stretching back to the great gates of the city. The Rabbi motions some men to rise. Ten of them pick up the GOLEM. Its body is stiff and heavy as clay. They carry it back towards the gates. From outside the curving walls of the medieval city, we see the body of the GOLEM carried in below the watch tower. The gates close on the procession. On the black walls a white clay Star of David appears, and then it becomes a white star in the darkness of the heavens.
Previous Halloween treats...
Blood suckers of Connecticut
H. P. Lovecraft treat..."The Alchemist"
BE AFRAID...the Vampire Squid
H. G. Wells treat..."The Star"
Animation land Halloween cartoons
Kwaidan..four ghost stories
Edgar A. Poe treat..."A Tale of the Ragged Mountains"
Mark Twain treat..."A Ghost Story"
The Devil and Maciste..."Maciste all'inferno"
"Daughter of Horror"...a remarkable cult film
Two historical cinematic Halloween offerings
Yes Virginia, there is a village named "Frankenstein" in America
Bram Stoker treat..."Dracula's Guest"
Schrödinger's cat achieves revenge
"The Hands of Orlac"...Austrian Expressionist cinema
H. H. Munro treat..."The She-Wolf"
Physics taking the fun out of Halloween cinema?
Halloween lithograph postcards from the past
Not just for Halloween, but works good--"face painting"
A disappearing Halloween tradition..."bobbing for apples"
Honoré de Balzac treat..."The Elixer of Life"
Guy de Maupassant treat..."On the River"
Meet Zé do Caixão [Coffin Joe] from Brazil's first horror film..."At Midnight I'll Take Your Soul"
Mary Henry and the living dead..."Carnival of Souls"
Sir Arthur Conan Doyle treat..."When The World Screamed"
Corman/Coppola horror film..."Dementia 13"
Castle and Price for the classic horror film "House on Haunted Hill"
92 years later, it is still a strong [horror] film..."The Cabinet of Dr. Caligari"
"Nosferatu"...the first and best
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