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Jews in Film

The Cowboy (USA, 1968)

Directed by Abe Wexler. (Director of "Son of Oklahoma" is Robert North Bradbury.) Cast: Bob Steele, Josie Sedgwick, Carmen Laroux, Julian Rivero, Robert Homans. A spoof produced in 1968 by adding Yiddish dialogue to a shortened version of the film "Son of Oklahama", a 1932 Hollywood western. The plot centers around a cowboy new to town unjustly accused of theft, who helps to solve the crime and discovers the identity of his parents. Dubbed into Yiddish. 12 min.

The Debt (2010)

Directed by John Madden. Cast: Helen Mirren, Sam Worthington, Jessica Chastain, Jesper Christensen, Martin Csokas, Ciaran Hinds, Tom Wilkinson. The story begins in 1997, as shocking news reaches retired Mossad secret agents Rachel and Stephan about their former colleague David. All three have been venerated for decades by Israel because of the secret mission that they embarked on for their country back in 1965-1966, when the trio tracked down Nazi war criminal Dieter Vogel, the feared Surgeon of Birkenau, in East Berlin.

The Debt (Israel, 2007)

Directed by Assaf Bernstein. Cast: Gila Almagor, Neta Garty, Yehezkel Lazarov, Alexander Peleg, Edgar Selge, Itay Tiran. 1964: three young Mossad agents capture the 'Surgeon of Birkenau,' a monstrous Nazi war criminal. While being brought to public trial, the Surgeon manages to escape. Faced with failure in their mission, the agents report their captive committed suicide and return to Israel as national heroes. 1997: more than thirty years later, the supposedly dead Surgeon resurfaces in the Ukraine, determined to confess his crimes. 93 min.

The Devil's Arithmatic(TV, 1999)

Directed by Donna Deitch. Cast: Kirsten Dunst, Brittany Murphy, Paul Freeman, Mimi Rogers, Louise Fletcher. When Hannah Stern, a 13 year-old girl neglectful to her Jewish heritage and "tired of remembering," goes to open the door to the prophet Elijha during the Seder she finds herself in 1940s Poland. After being sent to a Nazi concentration camp she must use her knowledge of the future to survive the past and learn something about the importance of remembering. Based on the novel: The devil's arithmetic / by Jane Yolen. 97 min.

The Diary of Anne Frank (1959)

Directed by George Stevens. Cast: Millie Perkins, Joseph Schildkraut, Shelley Winters, Richard Beymer, Gusti Huber, Lou Jacobi, Diane Baker, Douglas Spencer, Dody Heath, Ed Wynn. An extraordinary portrayal of humanity set during one of history's most inhumane periods. Features Millie Perkins as the insightful 13 year old biographer of her family's two-year hiding in an Amsterdam attic. At first, the strong-willed teenager embraces her fugitive lifestyle as an adventure.

The Diary of Anne Frank (UK, TV, 2008)

Directed by Jon Jones. Cast: Iain Glen, Tamsin Greig, Ellie Kendrick, Ron Cook. The Diary of Anne Frank is a modern literary classic and an extraordinary social document that gives a unique account of life in hiding under the Nazi terror in World War 2 from the perspective of a teenage Jewish girl. Full of tension but at times funny and ultimately tragic, Anne Frank's Diary manages to create a truthful and timeless picture of domestic life, while never letting us forget the extraordinary threat that awaits Anne and her family if they are discovered.

The Dybbuk (Poland, 1937)

Directed by Michael Waszynski. Cast: Avrom Marevsky, Isaac Semberg, Lili Liliana, Leon Liebgold, Moyshe Lipman, Dina Halpern, Max Bozyk, Shmuel Landau. Years after their parents had made a pledge that they would marry, a young couple meet and fall in love. The father of the young man had long before perished and the young woman's father, forgetting his vow, keeps the two apart. The film concerns unfullfilled love, broken promises, and the supernatural, as the persona of the youth enters his beloved's body and possesses her.

The Feast of Passover (Seder Nacht) (USA, 1931)

Directed by Sidney M. Goldin. Cast: Cantor Lieble Waldman, Mark Schweid, Noah Nachbush and the Vilna troupe. A seder in the midst of North American prosperity recalls traditional Passover celebrations in Russia (with the same cast enacting both scenes). Then modernity returns with a knock at the door and a humorous twist. 16 min. Credits and other information from the Internet Movie Database

The Fifth Rider is Fear (A paty Jezdec je Strach)(Czechoslovakia, 1964)

Director, Zbynek Brynych. Cast: Miroslav Machacek, Olga Scheinpflugova, Jiri Adamira, Illia Prachar, Josef Vinklar, Zdenka Prochazkova, Slavka Budinova, Jiri Virtala. An aging Jewish doctor is forbidden to practice medicine in Prague during the Nazi occupation. He is employed in a warehouse as a clerk, cataloguing confiscated Jewish property. When a partisan is wounded, the doctor reluctantly agrees to treat him.

The Frisco Kid (1979)

Directed by Robert Aldrich. Cast: Gene Wilder, Harrison Ford. A innocent Polish rabbi travels through 1850s America toward his new congregation and wife in San Francisco. Along the way, he forms an uneasy alliance with an inept bank robber and the two cut a pratfall-filled path across the wild west. 119 min. Credits and other information from the Internet Movie Database
See also:Robert Aldrich bibliography