Nat Silver has been engaged 7 times already. This time, his 8th, he's really going to get married. But a visitor shows up, Shirley's old boyfriend. With a gun ! He'll kill himself unless he...
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Nat Silver has been engaged 7 times already. This time, his 8th, he's really going to get married. But a visitor shows up, Shirley's old boyfriend. With a gun ! He'll kill himself unless he can have Shirley back, and Nat graciously gives in. According to Nat's mother, his Uncle Shya was unlucky at love but lucky as a matchmaker, and Nat is just like Shya. Nat tells his family he's going to Italy. But he remains in New York and sets himself up with a new name and new business, Nat Gold, Advisor in Human Relations... Written by
This is Edgar Ulmer's last Yiddish film before his departure for Hollywood where he eventually made "Detour" in 1945.
I saw this film at a screening organized by the Toronto Jewish Film Society. Much to my surprise, we were informed that Ulmer didn't speak Yiddish! He apparently did his journeyman film direction in a variety of languages he couldn't speak. Just a gun for hire, it seems.
His direction here is pretty foursquare with only a few flourishes, although he does seem to get mostly good performances out of a cast led by Leo Fuchs, as the often-engaged bachelor who requires a spell as a professional matchmaker to finally solve his matrimonial woes.
The film begins as a spoof of matchmaking -- Fuchs the wheeler-dealer turns it into big business, American style, with bonuses, staff meetings, and fancy advertising -- but ultimately the old country values are confirmed.
This amusing film -- Yiddish-speaking members of the audience loved it -- is bilingual throughout, about 90% Yiddish or Yiddish mixed with English (e.g. "bachelor party"), and 10% English. The film even goes trilingual at one point when the number "five" is said a third time as "pyat" (Russian, Ukrainian) for emphasis.
Warning: This is perhaps the most poorly subtitled film I have ever seen. Come prepared with a smattering of Yiddish, or at least German (it worked pretty well for me).
"Americaner Shadchen" was screened in a double bill with the earlier Leo Fuchs comedy, "I Want To Be a Boarder" (1937). It is somewhat primitive to look at but still quite funny where it counts. If it were not for his accent, the handsome and versatile Fuchs should have had a strong career in the conventional American cinema.
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