Director Green returned to his native Poland from America to produce this film, the most commercially successful musical in the history of the Yiddish cinema, starring Molly Picon, consummate comedienne of Yiddish theater, vaudeville, and film. This is the classic folk comedy about a man and his daughter who, penniless, decide to become traveling musicians. The daughter disguises herself as a boy to relieve her father's anxiety about unforeseeable problems that could befall a young woman "out in the world." They then join together with "another" father-son duo for music, comedy and romance. Green's original screenplay was enhanced by the folksy lyrics of Yiddish poet Itzik Manger and the memorable musical score of Abraham Ellstein, as well as the talents of Leon Leibold, the romantic lead who later starred in The Dybbuk and Tevye, and Max Bozyk, a character actor par excellence. Breaking away from the studio-bound cinematography of the early Yiddish talkies, the film was shot on ... Written by
This is a very tough film to review. The DVD I saw had very poor captioning (often it skipped sentences that the actors spoke) and the print was just terrible. It was apparently a copy of a videotape from Ergo Home Video. On top of that, the film had an incredibly antiquated style that might be a bit difficult to watch today.
The story is about a young lady (Judel) and her father. They are homeless and decide to survive by traveling the countryside playing their music for coins. However, to avoid problems, the lady disguises herself as a young man. Later, they meet two other musicians and become a team--and Judel maintains her disguise. However, problems arise when she falls in love with one of them. And, before she can tell him the truth, he's swayed by another lady. What is poor Judel to do?
I think that "Yidl Mitn Fidl" is much more an interesting curio than an entertaining film. It was the most popular Yiddish language film ever made--though there is NOT a huge audience for this today. Most people now living in Israel speak Hebrew--which is not the same language. Additionally, by today's standards the film just isn't very good. So, unless you have an interest in Yiddish or Jewish films or just love ANYTHING and EVERYTHING (like me), then you probably will not be particularly enamored with this movie.
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