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Set in 1949 New York, a Holocaust survivor who makes a living as a ghostwriter for a Jewish rabbi, finds himself involved with three women - his current wife, a passionate affair with a married woman, and his long-vanished wife whom he thought was killed during the war and suddenly reappears. The film concentrates on the views of the Jewish survivors, who no longer abide by religious morales and question a God who could let the Holocaust occur. Written by
John Sacksteder <email@example.com>
Very little in the previous career of director Paul Mazursky gave any hint of the depth and complexity of this comedy drama, adapted from an Isaac Bashevis Singer story about the misadventures of a Jewish refugee (Ron Silver) in New York City shortly after World War Two. Silver has a few problems most men wouldn't mind sharing, including a wife who is more a devoted servant and a mistress as passionate as she is temperamental, but the cozy arrangement is complicated by the unexpected return of his first wife, long thought dead, to act as a ghostly conscience and councilor for her bewildered husband. The film is so well made, with such attention to period flavor and detail, that it seems mean to point out its few nagging shortcomings: the haphazard structure, with too many sudden, incompatible changes in mood, and the equally inconsistent characters (it's never made clear, for example, why all three women are so devoted to this particular nobody). Too bad some of the effort that went into the production didn't first go into the script, but it's still an unusually rich experience, with an added dimension of depth from the specters of the Holocaust still haunting each character.
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