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Jews in Film

The Pawnbroker (1965)

Directed by Sidney Lumet. Cast: Rod Steiger, Brock Peters, Jaime Sanchez, Geraldine Fitzgerald, Raymond St. Jacques. Sol Nazerman is a WWII Nazi deathcamp survivor. Now, he runs a pawnshop and takes refuge in misery and a bitter condemnation of humanity. When his assistant sacrifices his own life for the pawnbroker during a robbery, Sol is finally confronted with the inherent goodness of the human spirit. Based on the novel by Edward Lewis Wallant. 120 min.

The People v. Leo Frank (2009)

Directed by Ben Loeterman. Cast: Will Janowitz, Seth Gilliam, Steve Coulter. This dramatized documentary drawn verbatim from transcipts, examines the story of Leo Frank, the only known Jew to be lynched in the United States and whose 1915 lynching by an anti-Semitic mob in Georgia led to the founding of the Anti-Defamation League. 82 min. Credits and other information from the Internet Movie Database

The Pianist (France / Germany / UK / Poland, 2002)

Directed by Roman Polanski. Cast: Adrien Brody, Thomas Kretschmann, Frank Finlay, Maureen Lipman, Emilia Fox, Ed Stoppard, Julia Rayner, Jessica Kate Meyer. Based on the memoirs of Wladyslaw Szpilman, a Polish Jew and a brilliant pianist who watched as his family was shipped off to Nazi labor camps. Tells of his heroic and inspirational journey of survival with the unlikely help of a sympathetic German officer, as he lived for years in the ruins of Warsaw, hiding from the Nazis. 149 min.

The Producers (1968)

Directed by Mel Brooks. Down-on-his-luck theatrical producer Max Biyalistok is forced to romance rich old ladies to finance his efforts. When timid accountant Leo Bloom reviews Max's books, the two hit upon a way to make a fortune by producing a sure-fire flop. The play which is to be their gold mine? "Springtime for Hitler." [Internet Movie Database] 89 min. ; ; Credits and other information from the Internet Movie Database

The Reader (USA / Germany, 2008)

Directed by Stephen Daldry. Cast: Ralph Fiennes, Kate Winslet, David Kross, Lena Olin, Bruno Ganz. Set in Post-WWII, Germany teenager Michael Berg becomes ill and is helped home by Hanna, a stranger twice his age. Michael recovers from scarlet fever and seeks out Hanna to thank her. The two are quickly drawn into a passionate but secretive affair. Michael discovers that Hanna loves being read to and their physical relationship deepens. Hanna is enthralled as Michael reads to her from different works of literature.

The Rothschilds' Shares in Waterloo (Die Rothschilds Aktien auf Waterloo) ; (Germany, 1940)

Directed by Erich Waschneck. Cast: Carl Kuhlmann, Hilde Weissner, Gisela Uhler, Erich Ponto. The Rothschilds was the first of three stridently antisemitic movies made in 1940 under the Nazi regime. A purportedly "historical" account of the Rothschild family's rise to fortune, set mostly in Great Britain during the Napoleonic wars, the movie reflected a wildly ambitious racial-political agenda.

The Search (Switzerland | USA, 1948)

Directed by Fred Zinnemann. Cast: Montgomery Clift, Aline MacMahon, Jarmila Novotna, Wendell Corey, Ivan Jandl. In post-World War II Germany, a small boy who survivied Auschwitz wanders alone -- feral, mute and terrified. He finds a makeshift home with a big-hearted GI, while the mother he does not remember searches desperately for him. Starring a then-unknown Montgomery Clift in his movie debut, directed in a near-documentary style and filmed in the ragged, rubble-strewn skeleton of Nuremberg, the film vividly captures the horrifying human cost of war. 104 min.

The Shop on Main Street (Obchod na Korze) (Czechoslovakia, 1965)

Directed by Jan Kadar and Elmar Klos. Cast: Jozef Kroner, Ida Kaminska, Hana Slivkova. In 1942, Tono and his wife are struggling because of his antipathy towards the fascist regime. His brother-in-law, the local fuehrer, chooses Tono to oversee a button shop owned by a sweet, harmless Jewish widow, Mrs. Lautman. When the Jews are ordered deported, the well-meaning Tono decides to shield her from the Nazis. 128 min. ; Credits and other information from the Internet Movie Database

The Singing Blacksmith (Yankl der Shmid) (USA, 1937)

Director, Edgar G. Ulmer. Cast: Moishe Oysher, Miriam Riselle, Florence Weiss. "Yankel Der Shmid was a vehicle for the rich vocal talents of cantor and matinee idol Moishe Oysher (who works a little "scat" into the repertoire). Shot on the cheap in a "shtetl" created in New Jersey, using extras from a nearby monastery (they had beards), The Singing Blacksmith looks more like Edgar Ulmer's Hollywood B films than his better-known Green Fields, but "it was probably modeled on the Soviet musicals of the period: folkloric, montage-filled, and thoroughly class-conscious" (National Film Theatre).

The Ten Commandments (1923)

Directed by Cecil B. De Mille. Cast: Theodore Roberts, Charles De Roche, Estelle Taylor, Julia Faye, Terence Moore, James Neill, Edythe Chapman, Richard Dix, Rod La Rocque. This early silent Cecil B. Demille production tells the story of how the Israelites left Egypt and acquired the Ten Commandments, as told in the context of a mother trying to bring up her children to believe in God. 146 min. ; also as supplement on ; Credits and other information from the Internet Movie Database

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