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Jews in Film

Awake and Sing (TV, 1972)

Director, Falk Harnack. Cast: Felicia Farr, Leo Fuchs, Robert Lipton, Walter Matthau, Ron Rifkin, Martin Ritt, Milton Selzer, Ruth Storey, John Myhers. This made for television adaptation of the story by Clifford Odets about a Jewish family in a Bronx tenement, perfectly captures the spirit of the Depression years in New York City. Based on the play by Clifford Odets (SEE Awake & Singing: Six Great American Jewish Plays, MAIN: PS628.A47 A93 2004). 100 min. Credits and other information from the Internet Movie Database

Bent (UK, 1997)

Director, Sean Mathias. Cast: Lothaire Bluteau, Clive Owen, Brian Webber, Ian McKellen, Mick Jagger. Pursued and captured by the Nazis because he is gay, Max is placed in a concentration camp where he pretends to be Jewish to avoid even worse persecution. There he meets another gay prisoner and learns a life-altering lesson about human love. 104 min. Credits and other information from the Internet Movie Database

Black Book (Zwartboek) (Netherlands / Germany / Belgium, 2006)

Directed by Paul Verhoeven. Cast: Carice van Houten, Sebastian Koch, Thom Hoffman, Halina Reijn, Waldemar Kobus, Derek de Lint, Christian Berkel, Dolf de Vries, Peter Blok, Michiel Huisman. Rachel, a young Jewish girl hiding from the Nazi's during World War II in The Netherlands, sees her hiding place blown up. She escapes with her rescuer, a young sailor, but the boat sails into a trap set by the Germans. She escapes and joins the resistance, and under the false name Ellis de Vries she meets SS-hauptsturmfuhrer Ludwig Muntze on a train smuggling weapons.

Borat: Cultural Learnings of America for Make Benefit Glorious Nation of Kazakhstan (2006)

Directed by Larry Charles ; screenplay by Sacha Baron Cohen; produced by Sacha Baron Cohen, Jay Roach. Cast: Sacha Baron Cohen, Ken Davitian, Luenell, Pamela Anderson. Fictional Kazakhstani TV personality Borat is dispatched to the United States to report on the "greatest country in the world." With a documentary crew in tow, Borat becomes more interested in locating and marrying Pamela Anderson than in pursuing his assignment. In this mockumentary film his ignorance, prejudice, and boorish behavior produce humorous results.

Border Street (Ulica graniczna) (Poland, 1948)

Director, Aleksander Ford. A tragedy about an old tailor who tries to save his daughters and others in the Warsaw ghetto. Culminates with the uprising of 1943, when Jews, supported by the Polish underground, take up arms and die fighting. 122 min. Credits and other information from the Internet Movie Database

Bugsy (1991)

Directed by Barry Levinson. Cast: Warren Beatty, Annette Bening, Harvey Keitel, Ben Kingsley, Joe Mantegna. The incredible true story of Benjamin "Bugsy" Siegel, the playboy gangster who betrayed the Mob for love. A cold-blooded killer who dreamed of Hollywood stardom, a crazed "patriot," who plotted against Mussolini, and the brilliant visionary who carved Las Vegas out of the dry Nevada desert, Bugsy had it all until he fell in love with a woman who wanted more. Their love affair was passionate, tempestuous and ultimately tragic. 136 min.

Catskill Honeymoon (USA, 1950)

Directed by Joe Berne. Cast: Al Murray, Max Bozhyk, Rose Bozhyk, Bobby Colt, Feder Sisters, Julius Adler. A Jewish resort hotel celebrates a pair of longtime customers' fiftieth wedding anniversary by staging an old-fashioned Borscht Belt show replete with singers, dancers, comedians, and impressionists. The show concludes with a fervent musical tribute to the year-old State of Israel. Filmed on location at Young's Gap Hotel in Parksville, New York. 94 min. Credits and other information from the Internet Movie Database

Chariots of Fire (UK, 1981)

Directed by Hugh Hudson. Cast: Ben Cross, Ian Charleson, Nigel Havers, Cheryl Campbell, Alice Krige, Nigel Davenport, John Gielgud, Ian Holm, Patrick Magee. Based on true events, tells the story of two English runners that were both driven by different means to win the Olympics. Eric, a devout Scottish missionary runs because he knows it must please God. Harold the son of a newly rich Jew runs to defeat antisemitism and prove his place in Cambridge society. 124 min. Credits and other information from the Internet Movie Database

Cohen on the Telephone (1929)

Directed by Robert Ross. Cast: George Sidney. With the advent of sound, the vaudeville-immigrant genre added comic speech to its repertoire of physical comedy and funny situations. This film presents a humorous monologue of a Jewish immigrant using the telephone for the first time when he calls his landlord about repairs to the owner's property. Unfamiliar with the telephone and still uncomfortable with the English language, Cohen embroils himself in a comic monologue of misunderstanding. 9 min.

Cohen Saves the Flag (Mabel Saves Her Darlings) (1913)

Directed by Mack Sennett. Cast: Ford Sterling, Mabel Normand, Henry Lehrman. "'Cohen Saves the Flag' is a very early Keystone comedy, one of several starring Ford Sterling as a scruffy coward named Izzy Cohen. All of the instalments in the 'Cohen' series feature some humour based on Jewish stereotypes, which has dated badly; fortunately, these films also have clever storylines and non-ethnic slapstick gags, so (with the possible exception of 'Cohen Collects a Debt') these films are still funny in spite of some (arguably) anti-Semitic content.

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