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The Dybbuk (1937)

Der Dibuk (original title)
Unrated | | Drama, Fantasy | 27 January 1938 (USA)
In a Polish shtetl, two young men who have grown up together betrothe their unborn children, ignoring the advice of a mysterious traveler not to pledge the lives of future generations. Soon... See full summary »



(play) (as Szymon An-ski), | 2 more credits »


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Complete credited cast:
Avrom Morewski ...
Rabbi Ezeriel ben Hodos (as Abram Morewski)
Ajzyk Samberg ...
Mojzesz Lipman ...
Leon Liebgold ...
Chanan ben Nisan
Dina Halpern ...
Max Bozyk ...
Nute, Sender's friend (as Maks Bozyk)
M. Messinger ...
Gerszon Lemberger ...
Nisan ben Rifke
Samuel Bronecki ...
Nachman - Menasze's father (as S. Bronecki)
Samuel Landau ...
Zalman - swat
Rest of cast listed alphabetically:
Judith Berg ...
Simche Fostel


In a Polish shtetl, two young men who have grown up together betrothe their unborn children, ignoring the advice of a mysterious traveler not to pledge the lives of future generations. Soon after, one of them dies, and the wife of the other dies in childbirth. The children grow up in different towns, without ever knowing of the betrothal, but the power of the vow leads them to meet each other when they are marriageable. The young woman, Leah, is promised to another man, but Channon, the son of the father who died, is a practitioner of mysticism, and seeks to win his bride through sorcery. Written by Dan Gilman <dgilman@haverford.edu>

Plot Summary | Add Synopsis

Plot Keywords:

possession | dybbuk | jew | jewish | ghost | See All (7) »


Drama | Fantasy






Release Date:

27 January 1938 (USA)  »

Also Known As:

The Dybbuk  »

Company Credits

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Technical Specs


(original release) | (existing print)

Sound Mix:

Aspect Ratio:

1.37 : 1
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User Reviews

Weak story but fascinating rituals
6 August 2010 | by (Silver Spring, MD) – See all my reviews

Sometime in the past, perhaps in the late 19th century, two best friends make a pledge that their children will marry if they should have a son and daughter. A mysterious messenger warns them against pledging the lives of the unborn, but he's ignored with the observation that Jews have always done this. The two men do have a son and daughter, but not without tragedy falling upon both their generation and the next.

This movie is very difficult to follow at the start, with each scene being little more than a one line synopsis of the events eventually leading up to the main story, the ill-fated romance between the son and daughter. The story has an unusual twist not found elsewhere, that of the son becoming a Dybbuk, but there otherwise isn't all that much of interest in the plot or the way it's told as it slowly plods along to its predictable conclusion.

What is interesting, of course, is watching the unique look and feel of a Yiddish movie made by Polish Jews in the 1930s. Much of the imagery is very striking and it's a rare chance to hear a full dose of authentic religious Jewish singing, something which never makes it into American films because of its lack of commercial appeal. The film definitely provides a rewarding experience to viewers who don't necessarily need the entertainment of a good story to keep them interested in the intriguing sights and sounds found in this film.

7 of 9 people found this review helpful.  Was this review helpful to you?

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