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Representations of Jews and Jewish Life in Film

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.

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.

Cohen's Advertising Scheme (1904, silent)

Directed by Edwin S. Porter. Cohen's advertising scheme: This is perhaps the earliest cinematic example of the Jewish stereotype known as the "scheming merchant," a familiar caricature from theater and literature. In this typical one-shot gag film Cohen, a Jewish shop owner, hits upon a new advertising scheme: tricking a passerby into buying a coat on which he hangs a large sign advertising his store on the back. 14 min. ;

Cohen's Fire Sale (1907)

Directed by Edwin S. Porter. "A very early silent short from film pioneer Edwin S. Porter. Based on popular vaudeville routines of the day, the title character is a made up in a rather grotesque, broadly stereotyped manner and the sketch itself could definitely be viewed as an offensive piece. A Jewish store owner sees his new shipment of hats picked up by the trash wagon and chases the vehicle down to recapture his merchandise. When the hats don't sell anyway, he sets his business on fire to collect the insurance money." [from FACETS catalog] 10 min.

Conspiracy (Law & Order) (1999, TV)

A prominent black political leader is shot and killed at a rally and a Jewish liberal, seen at the rally with a gun, is blamed and brought to trial. 47 min.

Creating Jewish Characters for TV.

One in a series of satellite seminars which investigate how prime-time television is conceptualized and created. This film explores the creation and characterization of Jewish characters presented in television sit-coms and dramas through comments by the creators of "Thirtysomething," "Chicago hope," "Relativity," "Northern exposure," and "Seinfeld." This seminar is presented at the Museum of Television and Radio, Los Angeles, California. 1998. 61 min.

Crossfire (1947)

Directed by Edward Dmytryk. Cast: Robert Young, Robert Mitchum, Robert Ryan, Gloria Grahame, Paul Kelly, Sam Levene, Jacqueline White, Steve Brodie, George Cooper, Richard Benedict, Richard Powers, William Phipps, Lex Barker, Marlo Dwyer. This intense thriller was shot entirely with a style reminiscent of expressionism. A Jew is murdered in a New York hotel, and three ex-soldiers are suspected. Hollywood's first strong statement against anti-semitism.

Crossing Delancy (1988)

Directed by Joan Micklin Silver. Cast: Amy Irving, Peter Riegert, Jeroen Krabbe, Sylvia Miles, Reizl Bozyk. The Jewish grandmother of a 30-something year old woman in New York decides her granddaughter should be married, and hires a matchmaker. Isabelle, the granddaughter, who considers herself successful and happy, is appalled, but humors her grandmother and agrees to meet the marriage prospect, a man who runs a streetside pickle stand. Based on the play by Susan Sandler. 97 min.

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