“Power bringith destruction. Beware that it be unleashed.”
Arthur Pimm (Roddy McDowell) is the assistant curator of a London museum. Arthur Pimm is a squirrelly little milquetoast who keeps his mother's corpse in a rocking chair in his apartment and borrows museum jewelry to adorn her corpse. The museum receives a call that one of their warehouses is on fire. Harold Grove (Ernest Clark), the museum curator and Pimm go down to the warehouse to check it out. The only thing that survives the fire is a large stone statue. When Pimm goes to the car to get a flashlight he hears a scream. When he returns Mr. Grove is dead.
The statue is taken to the museum and set up in an exhibit. An electrician (Steve Kirby) makes a remark about the statue. Pimm leaves. As soon as he goes he hears a crash. When he returns he finds the electrician on the floor dead with the statue on top of him. The man has been crushed.
Ellen Grove (Jill Haworth) is the old curator’s daughter. Pimm, in his weird little way, is in love with Ellen. Jim Perkins (Paul Maxwell) comes from the New York Museum to authenticate the statue and, if it proves to be authentic, to take it back to New York with him. Jim and Ellen become attracted to each other. He wants to take Ellen back too.
Jim notices some writing on the statue. Pimm does a rubbing of it and brings it to a rabbi for interpretation. The rabbi says the statue is a golem and the writing explains that when a certain scroll is placed under the tongue of the statue, it will come alive and do whatever it is told to do. Pimm finds the scroll in a compartment in its foot. He brings the golem back to life and has it kill the new curator Professor Weal (Aubrey Richards). Pimm begins to get a little power hungry using the golem to do things at a whim. Since Pimm does not use the Golem for good, he begins to lose control over it.
“It!” AKA “Curse of the Golem” was released in 1967 and was directed by Herbert J. Leder. “It!” is a British film, distributed in the US by Warner Brothers. I first saw this movie when I was a kid. I thought it was boring. Now, I find it more entertaining, but I can see some small, as well as some over the top, flaws with it.
One little thing that nagged me was, if the golem needs the scroll to have life, and it is suppose to be used for good, why did it kill both the first curator and the electrician?
As for over the top stuff, I agree that the Psycho type stuff looks like a rip-off, and it probably is. I don’t know anybody else that keeps their mother’s dead body hanging around. Second, why in the world would you tell the most powerful thing on Earth to swallow the scroll that brings it to life? Why not just burn the scroll? Third, I’m not sure any nuclear bomb is small.
Even with these flaws there are also a couple good things about the film. The primary one is Roddy McDowell. Whatever part he plays, he does it well. Here is no exception. He’s a mealy mouth wanna be that, when he got the power he wanted, couldn’t handle it. I’m sure he had already stepped over the line to insanity before he found the golem. (His mother is exhibit 'A'.) His actual only moment of sanity and humanity was when he realized he had abused that power and it caused the death of innocent people. Second, it really is kind of a cool looking golem.
It is definitely a quirky little film that, for some reason, stays with you, and you don’t know why.