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Hester Street (1975)

PG  |   |  Drama, Romance  |  6 August 1976 (Denmark)
7.0
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Ratings: 7.0/10 from 838 users  
Reviews: 20 user | 21 critic

It's 1896. Yankel Bogovnik, a Russian Jew, emigrated to the United States three years earlier and has settled where many of his background have, namely on Hester Street on the Lower East ... See full summary »

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(screenplay), (novel)
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Nominated for 1 Oscar. Another 2 wins & 1 nomination. See more awards »
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Cast

Cast overview, first billed only:
Steven Keats ...
Jake
...
Gitl
Mel Howard ...
Bernstein
Dorrie Kavanaugh ...
Mamie
...
Mrs. Kavarsky
Stephen Strimpell ...
Joe Peltner
Lauren Frost ...
Fanny
Paul Freedman ...
Joey
Martin Garner ...
Boss
Leib Lensky ...
Peddler
Zane Lasky ...
Greenhorn
Zvee Scooler ...
Rabbi
Eda Reiss Merin ...
Rabbi's Wife
Robert Lesser ...
Lawyer
...
Jake's Landlady
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Storyline

It's 1896. Yankel Bogovnik, a Russian Jew, emigrated to the United States three years earlier and has settled where many of his background have, namely on Hester Street on the Lower East Side of New York City. He has assimilated to American life, having learned English, anglicized his name to Jake, and shaved off his beard. He is working at a $12/week job as a seamster, the money earned to be able to bring his wife Gitl and his son Yossele to America from Russia. Regardless, he has fallen in love with another woman, a dancer named Mamie Fein. Nonetheless, he is excited when he learns that Gitl and Yossele are indeed coming to America. His happiness at their arrival is dampened when he sees that Gitl is not "American" looking like Mamie and has troubles assimilating as quickly as he would like. Except to Mamie, he tries to show a public façade that everything is fine at home with Gitl. But can their marriage survive these differences, and if not, will Gitl be able to manage in this new... Written by Huggo

Plot Summary | Add Synopsis

Taglines:

Goodbye O Lord, I'm Going To America!

Genres:

Drama | Romance

Certificate:

PG | See all certifications »
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Details

Country:

Language:

|

Release Date:

6 August 1976 (Denmark)  »

Also Known As:

Hester utca  »

Box Office

Budget:

$350,000 (estimated)
 »

Company Credits

Production Co:

 »
Show detailed on  »

Technical Specs

Runtime:

Sound Mix:

Aspect Ratio:

1.78 : 1
See  »
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Did You Know?

Trivia

Joan Micklin Silver wrote the film's screenplay in six weeks. Silver changed the emphasis of the film's source novel "Yekl" from a man's the point-of-view (the husband's POV) to a woman's perspective (the wife's POV). See more »

Goofs

After Mamie leaves Jake's apartment after meeting Gitl for the first time, they're talking in the stairwell. Mamie's left earring falls off as they're talking and she leaves without it. See more »

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User Reviews

Carol Kane's Absolute Best
28 June 2001 | by (Los Angeles) – See all my reviews

If you're a Carol Kane fan, and haven't seen this film, run out and rent it now (if you can find it). But don't expect the usual eccentric comic character Ms. Kane usually plays.

Filmed in black & white, this is a very atmospheric period piece about a traditional Jewish wife in turn-of-the-century America, whose husband is dissatisfied with her and wants a more modern woman. Carol Kane plays a quiet, thoughtful wife who somehow commands the screen just by sitting there and watching the selfish, thoughtless people rant and rave about her. She is a truer definition of a hero than any of the action heroes that have come out of Hollywood in the past 30 years; thoughtful, indefatiguable and irrepressible, despite the fact that she is firmly part of the traditional Jewish community where women subjugate themselves to men.

This is not an action piece; it's a character and period piece about surviving with dignity despite poverty, repression and injustice. This is the best performance by Carol Kane I have seen, not because she can't do better, but because she hasn't been given another role this thoughtful and dynamic. If she is given more roles like this in the future, she will again prove she is one of the best actresses in the country. A great film and a great performance.

Eight out of ten stars.


21 of 21 people found this review helpful.  Was this review helpful to you?

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