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.
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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 »
Edgar G. Ulmer
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Edgar G. Ulmer
Moishe Oysher, the renowned cantor and star of Yiddish radio, stars in Edgar G. Ulmer's musical version of David Pinski's play Yankl der Shmid. Singing, dancing, and flashing his eyes, Oysher gives his most robust performance as a passionate shtetl blacksmith who must struggle against temptation to become a mensch. Recently rediscovered footage makes this the most complete extant version of Ulmer's lively folk operetta, replete with an example of Yiddish swing. Written by
National Center for Jewish Film
Director Edgar G. Ulmer stated in an interview that the location shooting near Newton, NJ, was on land owned by the Catholic Monastery of the Benedictine Order, who were very cooperative in letting him build sets and film there, even supplying some monks who wore beards to be cast as extras. He also said there was a camp of a violent pro-Nazi organization called the German-American Bund nearby, and when they heard there was a company of New York Jews shooting a film in Yiddish near them, they threatened to assault the cast and crew and burn down the sets. Ulmer stated that the Benedictine monks - many of whom were Germans themselves - patrolled the film's location at night carrying shotguns to guard against any attack by the Bund. See more »
Yiddish film featuring the singing of Moyshe Oysher
Yankl der Shmid, the Singing Blacksmith, was filmed in New Jersey in the late 1930's. It was originally a play, simplified and brought to the screen as a vehicle to show off the singing talents of Moyshe Oysher as Yankl. Not a great film, but the singing is spectacular, and it's interesting as a period piece. As an extra bonus, the young Yankl is portrayed by Herschel Bernardi, in his first film role.
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