It! (1967 film)
1967 U.K. theatrical release poster
|Directed by||Herbert J. Leder|
|Produced by||Robert Goldstein (exec. producer)|
Herbert J. Leder
Tom Sachs (assoc. producer)
|Written by||Herbert J. Leder|
|Music by||Carlo Martelli|
|Edited by||Tom Simpson|
Gold Star Films Ltd.
|Distributed by||Warner Bros.-Seven Arts|
It! (alternate titles: Anger of the Golem and Curse of the Golem) is a 1967 British horror film made by Seven Arts Productions and Gold Star Productions, Ltd. that features the Golem of Prague as its main subject. Herbert J. Leder is the film's producer, screenwriter, and director. The film was made in the style of the Hammer Studios films both in sound and cinematography. It! stars Roddy McDowall as the mad assistant museum curator Arthur Pimm, who brings the Golem to life.
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A London museum's warehouse burns down leaving undamaged a statue that the museum curator, Mr. Grove, identifies as "Mid-European Primitive". Grove is mysteriously killed while inspecting the artifact when his assistant, Arthur Pimm, is sent to fetch a flashlight for him. This begins a series of unexplained deaths and calamities connected with the statue, which is later positively identified as the Golem of Judah Loew of the 16th century. An inscription in Hebrew heightens the suspense and horror of the plot:
- "Power bringeth destruction; beware, lest it be unleashed.
- He who will find the secret of my life at his feet, him will I serve until beyond time.
- He who shall evoke me in the 17th century, beware, for I cannot by fire be destroyed.
- He who shall evoke me in the 18th century, beware, for I cannot by fire or by water be destroyed.
- He who evokes me in the 19th century, beware, for I cannot by fire or by water or by force be destroyed.
- He who in the 20th century shall dare evoke me, beware, for neither by fire, nor water, nor force, nor anything by man created can I be destroyed.
- He who in the 21st century evokes me must be of God's hand himself, because on this earth the person of man existeth no more."
Arthur Pimm, a Norman Bates-like character, who keeps his mother's corpse in his apartment and borrows museum jewelry exhibits to adorn it, brings the Golem to life by placing a small scroll containing the Hebrew word "emeth" ("truth") into its mouth, which he finds in a compartment located at the top of the Golem's right foot. The Golem then becomes Pimm's accomplice in murder and mayhem, contrary to its original purpose to defend its community. When the Golem is suspected of bringing about the catastrophic destruction of Hammersmith Bridge, Pimm tries to destroy it. This is impossible, as the inscription predicts: "for neither by fire, nor water, nor force, nor anything by man created" can it be destroyed. This is borne out in the final scenes of the film by the detonation of a small nuclear warhead in an attempt to stop it.
Caught up in all of this is Ellen Grove, the daughter of the first deceased curator, who is a love interest for Pimm, but falls in love with Jim Perkins of the New York Museum, who identifies the Golem and seeks to acquire it for his museum. Perkins exposes Pimm to the police, and Pimm is committed to an insane asylum. He breaks out of the asylum and kidnaps Ellen with the help of the Golem. Pimm holes up in the museum's annex in the country, known as "The Cloisters". Jim Perkins dramatically saves Ellen from the aforementioned nuclear explosion that vaporizes both Pimm and "The Cloisters", but not the Golem, which, for unknown reasons, retreats into the sea.
- Roddy McDowall as Arthur Pimm
- Jill Haworth as Ellen Grove
- Paul Maxwell as Jim Perkins
- Aubrey Richards as Professor Weal
- Ernest Clark as Harold Grove
- Oliver Johnston as Curator Trimingham
- Noel Trevarthen as Inspector White
- Ian McCulloch as Detective Wayne
- Richard Goolden as the old rabbi
- Dorothy Frere as Miss Swanson
- Tom Chatto as the young captain
- Steve Kirby as Ellis the electrician
- Russell Napier as boss
- Frank Sieman as museum workman
- Brian Haines as first museum guard
- John Baker as second museum guard
- Mark Burns as first officer
- Raymond Adamson as second officer
- Lindsay Campbell as policeman
- Alan Seller as the Golem
Since Seven Arts Productions acquired Warner Bros. in 1967, the film was released by Warner Bros.-Seven Arts in the United States. The film was widely released in the U.S. in 1967 on a double feature with The Frozen Dead.
It! was released on home video on 9 December 2008 when Warner Home Video released it with The Shuttered Room in its new series of "Horror Double Feature" DVDs.
Jason P. Vargo from IGN awarded the film a score of 4/10, calling it "a sub-par creature feature". Author and film critic Leonard Maltin gave the film a mixed two out of four stars. David Camak Pratt from PopMatters, reviewing the double feature DVD release, awarded it three out of 10 stars. In his review, Pratt called the film "uneven" and "ridiculous", while also criticizing the film's Psycho-like plot points as being both obvious and pointless.
- Internet Movie Database entry for "It! (1967)"; "Warner Home Video Horror Double Feature: 'IT' and 'The Shuttered Room'" DVD case cover information
- John Hamilton, The British Independent Horror Film 1951-70 Hemlock Books 2013 p 174-177
- Review of "The Frozen Dead"
- Craveonline news release
- Vargo, Jason. "The Shuttered Room/It! Double Feature DVD Review - IGN". IGN.com. Jason P. Vargo. Retrieved 15 November 2017.
- Leonard Maltin; Spencer Green; Rob Edelman (January 2010). Leonard Maltin's Classic Movie Guide. Plume. p. 713. ISBN 978-0-452-29577-3.
- Pratt, David. "The Shuttered Room / It! - PopMatters". PopMatters.com. David Camak Pratt. Retrieved 15 November 2017.