Golem-blogging, essay 19 of 21
In The Golem, this particular famulus is named Famulus.
|Blissful in Miriam's bedroom before the Golem|
When Famulus discovers that Florian is in Miriam’s bedroom, his jealousy becomes palpable and he swiftly changes tactics, rushing off to reanimate the Golem. From the standpoint of both plot and images, Famulus is now the villain and Florian and Miriam are the sympathetic characters. It could conceivably be argued that Famulus is only the villain to the extent that Mickey Mouse is the villain in “The Sorcerer’s Apprentice” segment in Fantasia (and the parallels are considerable, with the sorcerer in Disney’s movie even moving much like Rabbi Loew when he summons magical forces). But Mickey is sympathetic because his motivation is a very innocent curiosity and ambition; it is much harder to sympathize with a jealous character in a love triangle.
|Jealous Famulus; angry Golem.|
|Miriam, draped across a rock|
by the Golem.
|Julie Adams draped across a rock|
in The Creature from the Black
In his last scene, Famulus has a private moment with Miriam. She has been abandoned by the monster, draped across a rock in a time-honored horror tradition that would later memorably include Julie Adams in The Creature from the Black Lagoon and many others. Famulus asks her: “Can you forgive?” Then he says that all evidence of Florian will be lost in the fire, and that he will never tell.
|Famulus and Miriam, a couple|
But the movie ends with the implication that Miriam takes the bait. I don’t see this as a “happily ever after” ending at all. It’s intelligently and pleasantly complex, leaving you with that sour, uneasy feeling that you sometimes get from the best of Hitchcock.
A side note: The actor playing Famulus is Ernst Deutsch. He's okay in the part, often playing very broadly but no worse than the other actors around him (excepting Wegener's magnificent performance). Deutsch went on to a very successful career as a film actor, eventually moving to
|Ernst Deutsch, 29 years later, as Baron Kurtz in The Third Man (1949).|
Watch The Golem (1920):
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© 2011 Lee Price