Ulmer's soulful, open-air adaptation of Peretz Hirshbein's classic play heralded the Golden Age of Yiddish cinema. When an ascetic young scholar ventures into the countryside, searching for... See full summary »
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Moishe Oysher gives his most robust performance as a passionate shtetl blacksmith who must struggle against temptation to become a mensch. Ulmer's film is a musical version of David Pinski's classic 1906 play Yankl der Schmid.
Ulmer's soulful, open-air adaptation of Peretz Hirshbein's classic play heralded the Golden Age of Yiddish cinema. When an ascetic young scholar ventures into the countryside, searching for the city of "true Jews," he learns some unexpected lessons from the Jewish peasants who take him in as a tutor for their children. Written by
National Center for Jewish Film
The play opened off-Broadway in New York City, New York, USA in 1918. Jacob Ben-Ami was a member of the 1919 New York stage production and was made co-director at the insistence of writer Peretz Hirschbein, who felt he could see that the film was faithful to the play. See more »
While I saw this film 35 years ago when I was 13, and couldn't understand the parts where Yiddish was spoken without subtitles, I remember it being very enjoyable. It is a comedy and everyone has foibles, including the student, who often is self-important and pompous. I remember him explaining his sensitivity by saying, "I have a Jewish heart." Like everyone else doesn't?
One thing I picked up years later when this was the subject of a TV documentary, was a scene where the young son of the family, played by a very young Hershel Bernardi, invites the student to cross a river, symbolic that by simplifying his life he is, in a sense, crossing the River Jordan.
Not a bad idea, today, either.
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