In the Jewish ghetto in 16th century Prague, the community leader and astrologer Rabbi L¾w (Albert Steinrueck) foresees doom for his people written in the stars. A short time later the Emperor Luhois (Otto Gebuehr) issues an expulsion order to the people of the ghetto and they are to leave the city. In an attempt to save his people, L¾w creates a forbidding clay golem (Paul Wegener) that he brings to life with the assistance of a demon spirit and an amulet placed in the centre of the creature's chest. Subsequently the Golem saves the Emperor's life and the order is rescinded.
Initially the Golem does nothing but good, but changes after L¾w's assistant Famulus (Ernst Deutsch) uses the creature to ward off Count Florian (Lothat M·thel), who is competing with him for the affections of the Rabbi's daughter, Miriam (Lyda Salmonova). Famulus tries to remove the amulet and to return the Golem to rest, but fails as the enraged creature embarks on a trail of destruction, burning L¾w's house and making off with Miriam; the whole community is threatened.
The third film by actor and director Paul Wegener to feature the Golem, this is the most accomplished. Its influence can be seen in many later films, but in particular James Whale's Frankenstein. It is an excellent example of German Expressionism and an important contribution to the golden age of Weimar Cinema.
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