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The  Legend  of  The  Golem

Golem mannikin from the 1920 German movie            short history

literary works

movies & TV

stageplays, other media


image gallery


           poster for 1920 German silent movie 'Der Golem'

Before Frankenstein there was The Golem!

The story of The Golem has many variations, but the basic tale has a Jewish rabbi/rebbe bring life to a clay figure to protect the Jewish community from pogroms of some sort or of general discrimination. The Golem is unable to speak, though it understands whatever language is spoken to it. The Golem is controlled by placing a word written on paper or other material in The Golem's mouth or forehead, and deactivated by removing that writing.

All goes well as long as the rabbi remembers to shut down The Golem on Friday to keep the Sabbath/Shabbas. But one time the rabbi forgets, and The Golem goes on a rampage.
The second major variation is that The Golem falls in love with the rabbi's daughter, and when he communicates that to her she rejects him – and then he goes on a rampage.

History  of  The  Legend
First mentioned in the Book of Psalms in the Hebrew Bible, the word 'golem' is not used. The earliest tales in literature of an artificial man include the Legend of The Golem, recorded in the Jewish Talmud circa 200 C.E. The creation of The Golem from clay or mud is described in many ways, including by magic spell. The earliest known written tales of The Golem date to circa 1200 C.E.; oral versions of the legend existed in Poland and Prague circa 1580, in Germany circa 1625, and in Lithuania 1750-1820.

After the year 1900, the oral traditions of The Golem were reproduced or expanded in various media. Such modern literary works include: "Wonders of The Maharal: The Golem of Prague (Niflaos Maharal: Ha Golem al Prague)" [Warsaw, 1909] by Rabbi Yudel Rosenberg [1859-1935]; "The Golem" [1914 novel] by Gustav Meyrink; "The Golem" stageplay by H. Leivick [Yiddish version 1921, Broadway stageplay 1948]; "El Golem" poem [1964] by Jorge Luis Borges; "The Golem" [1969 novel] by Isaac Bashevis Singer; "Golem XIV" [1981 novel] by Stanislaw Lem; and "The Golem" children's book [1983] written by Elie Wiesel.
More recent variants include 'Dungeons & Dragons', many video games, and several comic book series and graphic novels.

Works about The Golem on film & television include: Paul Wegener's silent film trilogy - "The Golem" [1915 lost film], "The Golem and The Dancing Girl" sequel comedy [1917 lost film], and "The Golem: How He Came Into The World" horror prequel [Germany 1920]; "Le Golem" [1936] a French/Czechoslovakian film directed by Julien Duvivier; the horror film "It!" [1967] directed by Herbert J. Leder; the Golem trilogy written & directed by Amos Gitai, 1991-93; and "The Limehouse Golem" [2017] — along with many others.

'Golem' entry at Wikipedia

Literary  Works
search books on keyword 'golem' {returns 1,800 items} at Amazon

¨            ¨

"Niflaos Maharal: Ha Golem Al Prague (Wonders of The Maharal: The Golem of Prague" [Warsaw, 1909]
Rabbi Yudel Rosenberg [1859-1935] originated the idea that the narrative dates from the time of the Maharal

"The Golem and The Wondrous Deeds of The Maharal of Prague" [5/2007] by Yudl Rosenberg & Prof. Curt Leviant

"The Golem" [1914 novel] by Gustav Meyrink [1868-1932]
Der Golem novel by Gustav Meyrink 1970 cover  The Golem novel by Gustav Meyrink, translated by Mike Mitchell  Serialized in Germany 1913-14, published as a book in 1915; shaped by many fasntastical elements, the story of a jeweler in the Jewish ghetto of Prague as he interacts with neighbors, the police, and the (origin unexplained) Golem figure.
book entry at Wikipedia
Kindle Edition from Dedalus Ltd. [10/2012$9.59>
Dover Publns 8½x5½ pb [12/85] for $9.33
Dedalus Ltd. 8x5 pb [6/2000] out of print/used
Folio Society 9x6½ hardcover [2010] out of print/used
Tartarus Press 9x6 hardcover [2004] out of print/used
Der Golem und Andere Werke von Gustav Meyrink in Kindle format  "Der Golem und Andere Werke von Gustav Meyrink" for Kindle [2016]
Kindle Edition from Ideenbrücke Verlag [3/2016] for 99¢
editions in other languages
Italian-language Kindle Edition from Ascoltalibri Edizioni [12/2014] for $4.99
French-language Kindle Edition from Amazon Digital Services [7/2017] for 99¢
Spanish-language Kindle Edition from Amazon Digital Services [3/2011] for 99¢
Ediciones Brontes SL Spanish-language pb [2013] out of print/used
available as free online German-language etext at Internet Archive

The Prague Golem book by Chajim Bloch  "The Prague Golem: Jewish Stories of The Ghetto" [1920]
by Chajim Bloch [1881-1973]

Vitalis 8¼x5½ pb [2007] out of print/used
Rudolf Steiner Publns mass pb [1972] out of print/scarce
author entry at Wikipedia Germany

"The Golem: A Dramatic Poem in Eight Scenes" [1921] by H. Leivick

"El Golem" poem [1964] by Jorge Luis Borges

"The Golem" novel [Farrar, Straus & Giroux 1969] by Isaac Bashevis Singer ISBN 9780374327415.

"Golem XIV" [1981 novel] by Stanislaw Lem

"The Golem" children's book [Summit Books 1983] written by Elie Wiesel, illustrated by Mark Podwal
ISBN 0-671-49624-7 + 9780671454838

"Davey's Hanukkah Golem" children's book [9/1991] by David Gantz

Terry Pratchett's "Discworld" series [41 novels, 1983-2015] includes a race of creatures called Golems

"Golem" [1996 picture book] written and illustrated by David Wisniewski

"The Puttermesser Papers" [1997 novel] by Cynthia Ozick
A modern Jewish woman creates a female golem out of the dirt in her flowerpots to serve as the daughter she never had;
the golem helps Puttermesser become elected Mayor of New York before it begins to run out of control.

"The Golem's Mighty Swing" graphic novel [2001] by James Sturm's
A 1920s Jewish baseball team creates a golem to help them win their games.

Golem of Prague book by T. Kuperman  "The Golem of Prague" [2007] by T. Kuperman
ArtScroll Mesorah 11x8½ hardcover [2007] out of print/used
ArtScroll Mesorah 11x8½ hardcover [2007] out of print/used
Amazon integrity: The credited author does not match the book cover, also dimensions incorrect
publisher's book page

Movies  &  Television
search DVDs on keyword 'golem' {returns 50+ items} at Amazon

·                         ·

"Der Golem" silent feature
[Deutsche Bioscop GmbH Germany Jan 1915]
Der Golem 1915 lost German silent film  An antiques dealer finds a golem and brings it to life as his servant. The Golem falls in love with the dealer's daughter, but she does not return his love, so The Golem commits a series of murders.
Co-produced by Hanns Lippmann; co-produced, co-written & co-directed by Paul Wegener; co-written & co-directed by Henrik Galeen; starring Paul Wegener {as The Golem}, Henrik Galeen, Lyda Salmonova, Rudolf Blümner, Robert A. Dietrich, Carl Ebert, Jakob Tiedtke
{this film is considered lost} - although fragments exist
full credits at IMDbmovie entry at Wikipedia

"Der Golem und Die Tänzerín (The Golem and The Dancing Girl)"
sequel comedy film
[Deutsche Bioscop GmbH Germany Jan 1917]
The Golem and The Dancing Girl 1917 lost silent film  As a practical joke, an actor impersonates the screen monster that he made famous • Produced by Paul Davidson; written & co-directed by and starring Paul Wegener; co-directed by and starring Rochus Gliese; also starring Lyda Salmonova, Wilhelm Diegelmann, Fritz Feld, Emilie Kurz, Wilhelm Schmidt, Erich Schönfelder, Friedrich Veilchenfeld, Ernst Waldow
{this film is considered lost} - except for 8 minutes recently found (unconfirmed)
full credits at IMDbmovie entry at Wikipedia
"The Golem: How He Came Into The World"
horror prequel in 5 chapters
[U.F.A. Germany Oct 1920]
The Golem 1920 classic German silent film  A rabbi in XVIth-Century Prague sees danger to the Jews in the stars; he creates The Golem using sorcery, bringing the creature to life in order to protect the Jews of Prague from persecution • Produced by Paul Davidson; co-written & directed by Paul Wegener; co-directed by Carl Boese; co-written & directed by Henrik Galeen; starring Paul Wegener {as The Golem}, Albert Steinrück, Lyda Salmonova, Ernst Deutsch, Hans Stürm, Max Kronert, Otto Gebühr, Dore Paetzold, Lothar Müthel, Greta Schröder, Loni Nest, Carl Ebert, Fritz Feld, Ursula Nest
91-minute Alpha Video DVD [9/2002] for $5.21
100-minute Classic Fantasy Horror DVD [4/2016] for $12.99
91-minute Kino Lorber Films restored DVD [10/2004] for $13.99
85-minute The Bureau DVD with modern score by Black Francis [3/2011] for $15.37
The Bureau soundtrack CD by Black Francis [3/2011] out of prodn/used
full credits at IMDbmovie entry at Wikipedia
watch full movie - with music & English intertitles [b&w upload; 1:41:23] at Internet Archive
watch full movie - music is mostly violin, intertitles in German [tinted upload; 1:24:50] at Internet Archive
watch full movie - with English intertitles, without music [tinted upload; 1:23:05] at Internet Archive

"Le Golem, or The Golem: The Legend of Prague" [1936] directed by Julien Duvivier /tt0027688/
a French/Czechoslovakian sequel to the Wegener film

"Císaruv Pekar, Pekaruv Císar (The Emperor and The Golem)" [Czechoslovakia 1951, Artkino USA 1955]
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/The_Emperor_and_the_Golem /tt0043411/
a two-part historical fantasy comedy film

"Cisaruv Pekar - Pekaruv Cisar (The Emperor and The Golem)" digipack 1952

"It!" aka "Curse of The Golem" horror film
[Warner Bros./Seven Arts July 1967]
still photo of the golem and the girl from 'It! - Curse of The Golem'  'Made in the Hammer Films style' - When a museum warehouse burns down, only one statue is untouched, one made by a famous rabbi in XVIth Century Prague . . . • Co-produced, written & directed by Herbert J. Leder; starring Roddy McDowall, Jill Haworth, Paul Maxwell, Aubrey Richards, Ernest Clark, Oliver Johnston, Noel Trevarthen, Ian McCulloch, Richard Goolden, Dorothy Frere, Tom Chatto, Steve Kirby, Russell Napier, Frank Sieman, Brian Haines, Mark Burns, John Baker & Alan Seller {as The Golem}
available on DVD only as part of a Horror Double Feature with "The Shuttered Room" [1967]
Warner Home Video color DVD [12/2008] out of prodn/used
full credits at IMDbmovie entry at Wikipedia

"Prague Nights (Prazské Noci)" [Czechoslovakia June 1969]
Prague Nights movie from Czechoslovakia  Four segments taking place in Prague: "Poslední Golem" written & directed by Jirí Brdecka, starring Josef Bláha, Martin Ruzek, Jan Klusák, Lucie Novotná, Václav Mares, Viktor Maurer, Ladislav Gzela, Milan Mach; "Fabricius a Zuzana" and "Otrávená Travicka" directed by Milos Makovec; and "Chlebové Strevícky" directed by Evald Schorm
VHS/DVD/Blu-ray not available • full credits at IMDb

"The World Beyond" TV movie [1978] /tt0235068/
A golem made of mud terrorizes a couple on a remote Maine island

"Golem" [1980] /tt0080806/
The film is set in a terrorizing world of the future; directed by Piotr Szulkin
Piotr Szulkin Box: Golem / Wojna Swiatow / O-bi, O-ba Koniec Cywilizacji / Ga Ga Chwala Bohaterom1986

"Miami Golem" [1985]

"Monstrosity" horror comedy [1987] Director: Andy Milligan /tt0137961/
A young man, whose girlfriend was killed by street thugs, builds a Golem which is then programed to go out and kill the thugs.

"Birth of A Golem (Naissance d'un Golem)" (1991) /tt0167302/
Directed by Amos Gitai; starring Dominique Sanda, Sapho

"Golem, The Spirit of Exile (Golem: L'Esprit de L'Exil)" [6/1992] /tt0104356/
Directed by Amos Gitai, starring Hanna Schygulla, Vittorio Mezzogiorno

"Golem: The Petrified Garden (Golem: Le Jardin Pétrifié)" [1993] /tt0143281/
Directed by Amos Gitai; starring Jerome Koenig, Hanna Schygulla, Samuel Fuller

"Rabín a Jeho Golem" TV Movie [1995] /tt3963118/
Directed by Václav Vorlícek | Stars: Vladimír Ráz, Pavel Nový, Jaroslava Adamová, Martin Zounar

"Myths, Mysteries, and Mysticism: The Golem" documentary (1996) /tt0425277/
40 minute Short; director Roel Oostra follows the Jewish-American rabbi & author Chaim Potok through Prague while recounting
the old legend of the Golem and its creator, Rabbi Judah Loew

"Golem" [2000] directed by Louis Nero /tt0832494/

"Snow in August" TV movie [2001] /tt0262776/
A Catholic boy befriends a Jewish rabbi after a Jewish merchant was beaten up by racist thugs and now the boy and his mother
are fearful of their lives; the boy decides to create the vengeful Golem for protection ..

"Le Golem de Montreal" [2004] written & directed by Isabelle Hayeur /tt0407829/

"The Golem" video featurette [2004] /tt1893368/
39-minute story of estranged siblings returning to their childhood home after their father dies to discover a golem living in the family garage
Director: Debora Roventini Writer: Rob Robinson Stars: Elizabeth Bailey, Patrick Connelly, Philip Faiss

"You Got to Know When to Golem" segment of the "Treehouse of Horror XVII" episode /tt0831240/
[Fox Nov 2006] of "The Simpsons" TV series
featuring Fran Drescher & Richard Lewis as golems

"Blood and Stone: A Legend of The Golem" short [2009] directed by Arnon Z. Shorr /tt1439524/

"The Limehouse Golem" [R.L.J./LionsGate Sept 2017]  9/2017
The Limehouse Golem 2017 movie  "Before The Ripper, Fear Had Another name" • A Scotland Yard detective is assigned to solve a series of murders in the riverside Limehouse district of London; suspects include George Flood, John Cree, George Gissing, and Karl Marx
Directed by Juan Carlos Medina; screenplay by Jane Goldman, based on the novel by Peter Ackroyd; starring Bill Nighy {as Insp. Kildare}, Olivia Cooke {as Lizzie Cree}, María Valverde, Eddie Marsan, Douglas Booth, Daniel Mays, Sam Reid, Adam Brown, Paul Ritter, Henry Goodman, Amelia Crouch, Peter Sullivan, Morgan Watkins, Damien Thomas, Simon Meacock, Keeley Forsyth, Siobhán Cullen, Mark Tandy, Olesja Sidorovich, Michael Jenn, Christina Tam, David Macey, Craig Thomas Lambert, Clive Brunt, Levi Heaton, Jack Parr, Craig Carr, Jake Sanson, Anita Breheny, Tom Raven, Louisa-May Parker, Gary Davies, Bryan Samson, David Vickers, Edythe Woolley, Michael Barron
Image Ent. widescreen color Blu-ray [11/2017] for $18.70
Image Ent. widescreen color DVD [11/2017] for $13.99
Amazon Instant Video [9/2017] rental $5.99, purchase $19.99
full credits at IMDbmovie entry at Wikipediawatch 6/2017 official trailer [2:11] at YouTube

Trial of Elizabeth Cree / Limehouse Golem novel by Peter Ackroyd  "The Limehouse Golem: A Novel" [1995] by Peter Ackroyd
prior title "The Trial of Elizabeth Cree", and before that was "Dan Leno and The Limehouse Golem" [1994],
which had no central Scotland Yard inspector character • book entry at Wikipedia
TLG: Kindle Edition from Nan A. Talese/Random House [3/2012] for $10.99
TTEC: Doubleday pb [4/95] out of print/used
TTEC: Nan A. Talese 9½x6¾ hardcover [4/95] out of print/40+ used
DLTLG: Mandarin 7¾x5 pb [1995] out of print/used
DLTLG: Sinclair-Stevenson, Ltd. hardcover [1994] out of print/used

Stageplays,  Other  Media

®           ®

"Der Golem" stageplay [1908] by Arthur Holitscher

"Der Golem" Yiddish stageplay [1921] by H. Leivick

"The Golem" Broadway stageplay [1948] by H. Leivick

The Golem, Man of Earth playscript by Howard Rubenstein  "The Golem, Man of Earth: A Play" [2006] by Howard Rubenstein
an experimental version of "The Golem, Man of Earth" was produced
in 2006 at 6th @ Penn Theatre (renamed Compass Theatre, since closed)
in San Diego, California
96-page Granite Hills Press 7¼x5 pb [9/2007] for $14.95

'Golem' multi-media stageplay by Suzanne Andrade  "Golem" multi-media stageplay [1927 Theatre Company, UK 2014]
Written & directed by Suzanne Andrade; film, animation & design by Paul Barritt

An original story that examines the relationship between an extraordinarily ordinary man and his Golem - a creature fashioned out of clay - in a fictional yet familiar world, where technology and the market economy have evolved to a point of transcending the boundaries of human control. Golem has become a must have, indispensible ingredient for a better life - but its very existence threatens the future of those who created it. Multi-media stageplay had its world premiere at Salzburg State Theatre, Salzburg Festival, Austria in August 2014official website
watch 5/2014 'coming soon' official trailer [0:41] at Vimeo
watch 11/2014 Apple TV official trailer [0:40] at Vimeo

'Meyrink's The Golem: A Dream Play' adapted by Daniel Flint  "Gustav Meyrink's The Golem: A Dream Play" [2015]
one-man stageplay adapted & performed by Daniel Flint

directed by Joel David Santner; music by Josh Taylor
Kindle Edition from Amazon Digital Services [2/2015] for $7.99
CreateSpace 7¾x5 pb [2/2015] for $9.99
'Golem' one-man stageplay by Richard Waring  "Golem" one-man stageplay [2016]
Written and performed by Richard Waring

performed at the 70th Edinburgh Festival Fringe in August 2017,
and touring England & Europe in 2016 & 2017
official website

Nicolae Bretan operas album on CD  "Der Golem" one-act opera [1923] by Romanian composer Nicolae Bretan [1887-1968]
first performed in 1924 in Cluj and revived in 1990 in Denver, Colorado; recording performed by Philharmonic Orchestra of Moldava, conducted by Cristian Mandeal; featuring baritone Alexandru Agache; opera "Der Golem" is ten tracks, Bretan's 1942 opera "Arald" is eight tracks
Nimbus Records audio CD [9/95] 18 tracks for $2.49 {sic}
opera entry at Wikipedia
Der Golem opera by Eugen d'Albert album on CD  
"Der Golem: Music Drama in Three Acts" opera [1926] by Eugen d'Albert [1864-1932]
recording performed by Beethoven Orchestra Bonn, conducted by Stefan Blunier, featuring Mark Morouse, Ingeborg Greiner, Alfred Reiter • opera entry at Wikipedia
MD&G Records hybrid SACD-DSD [11/2010] 2 disks for $34.99
Metamorphosis choral album on CD  "The Golem Psalms" choral work [2007] on the audio CD "Metamorphosis"
Text by Ellen Frankel, music by Andrea Clearfield

30-minute piece commissioned & performed in May 2007 by The Mendelssohn Club
of Philadelphia, with the Chamber Orchestra of Philadelphia; album cuts 2-8;
the other two works are by Jennifer Higdon & James Primosch
Innova audio CD [2/2012] 10 tracks for $16.49
entry at composer's website

±                  ±
C.B.S. Radio Mystery Theater aired an episode in 1974 entitled "The Golem", which takes place during the Holocaust.

'Mysterious Golem of Prague' radio drama on vinyl & MP-3  "The Mysterious Golem of Prague: The Story That Inspired Frankenstein" [1982]
radio drama written, produced & directed by Simcha Gottlieb & Chaim Clorfene,
based on the Kabbalah classic "Wonders of The Maharal" [1909]; featuring
Leonard Nimoy and an international cast

Jewish Radio Theater LP soundtrack album [1982] out of prodn/SOLD OUT!
49-minute indep MP-3 album download [12/2011] for $8.99
listen to audio excerpt [21:21] online at Chabad.org

Stone Golem cast metal miniature from Reaper  Clay Golem cast polymer miniature from Reaper   Stone Golem cast metal miniature from Reaper
for use in Dungeons & Dragons; package is 9x5x2, object weight is
1.6 ounces, height is 25mm (1 inch)
unpainted cast metal miniature from Reaper [undated] for $8.19
Clay Golem cast polymer miniature from Reaper
for use in Dungeons & Dragons; package is 5x3x1, object weight is
0.3 ounces, height is 25mm (1 inch)
unpainted cast polymer miniature from Reaper [undated] for $7.38

Non-Fiction  About  The  Golem

Jewish Stories of Prague book by V.V. Tomek  "Jewish Stories of Prague: Jewish Prague In History and Legend" [1932]
by Vaclav Vladivoj Tomek, 2008 Translation by Mirek Katzl

Kindle Edition from Sharpless House [1/2014] for $2.99
CreateSpace 8x5 pb [4/2015] for $8.95
LULU.com mass pb [12/2008] for $14.95

"The Golem Legend: Origins and Implications" [Univ Press of America 1985] by Byron L. Sherwin

The Golem Redux book by Elizabeth R. Baer  "The Golem Redux: From Prague To Post-Holocaust Fiction" [2012]
by Elizabeth R. Baer

Kindle Edition from Wayne State Univ Press [4/2012] for $15.39
Wayne State Univ Press 9x6 pb [4/2012] for $27.95

Image  Gallery

2012 poster for imagined 1930s 'The Golem' movie directed by James Whale and starring Boris Karloff & Tor Johnson         

L i n k s
'Golem' entry at Wikipedia
search books on keyword 'golem' {returns 1,800 items} at Amazon
search DVDs on keyword 'golem' {returns 50+ items} at Amazon

here on 'The Legend of The Golem' Page at Spirit of America Bookstore

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