|Index||3 reviews in total|
One of Griffith's early directing efforts, Romance of a Jewess already
shows some of the themes that would interest Griffith for most of his
career: the clash of both races and generations, Jewish ghetto life,
and the sentimental position the beloved mother apparently holds in the
life of all men.
The story is simple and eternal. A young Jewish woman, working in the pawnshop owned by her recently widowed father - we see the mother's death in what seems to be a somewhat superfluous scene - rebels against the arranged marriage organised for her by him, and chooses a native Indian bookseller, much to her father's displeasure. The father banishes her from his sight, but he and his daughter are fated to be reunited under tragic circumstances...
The film is fairly ordinary, but clearly well directed for the time, although the acting is still very much of the exaggerated gesture school. Only in the brief scenes in which Griffith takes his camera out onto the real streets of New York does the film truly come alive.
It was interesting to see the American Bioscope logo clearly visible on the wall of the pawnshop, put there by the makers in an attempt to stop other distributors from duping the film (copying it and passing it off under their own name - a practice that was common in the wild, early days of cinema). It's also amusing to note that, even though a number of years pass during the telling of the story, the old pawnbroker still hasn't managed to shift that guitar hanging on the wall...
Romance of a Jewess (1908)
** (out of 4)
A female working in a pawn shop oversteps her arranged marriage so that she can be with her true love who just happens to be an Indian. Slight melodrama from D.W. Griffith really doesn't have anything overly interesting going for it.
Song of the Shirt, The (1908)
** (out of 4)
More melodrama from D.W. Griffith, this time he covers the poor living in an urban area. Once again, nothing too special here, although Griffith does a nice job at showing off the living conditions of these poor people.
Money Mad (1908)
** 1/2 (out of 4)
A homeless man finds a wallet full of money and this sets off a mad cap of adventure for various characters. Here's a comedy from Griffith, which remains interesting throughout even though the comedy never really shines through.
One of the themes that the 33 year old D.W. Griffith liked to explore was race relations, particularly between the native Indians and the settled American community. In this film, He explores the romantic relationship between an American and a Jewess which took two days of shooting (1 external, 1 internal).
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