If not for Jerry Stiller and soap actress Kathleen Widdoes as the Jewish parents, I wouldn't have recalled anything about this fantastic program.
Taking place in the early part of the twentieth century, a young Jewish lad makes friends with the son of a recently arrived foreign couple. They plan to save their money and open a bakery. They are also an extremely strict set of parents.
Gradually, Werner (Arquette) is encouraged in music through simple whistling and then onward. The Rosenblooms give Werner a phonograph so he may listen to music as he so wishes, but his parents make him give it back.
This results in Stiller's crowning moment as he fights the Hausers' treatment of his son's gift. It may have been for naught, but Stiller undeniably got his point across.
Also by this time, the seed of independence had been planted in young Werner and he too, reacted in the only way he felt possible.
There may be comparisons between Werner's music and his parents' dream of the bakery, but they are faint.
In the end, the only one who lost out was young Eli Rosenbloom, as he stood alone under the bridge where he and his new friend had talked and he realized this was one of the last places Werner had gone. The final scene of Mr. and Mrs. Hauser in their apartment is absolutely chilling.
Such subtlety, even in the explosive moments with the phonograph and Werner's last act. Hardly a ripple in the pages of life it seemed, but clearly there had been a story.
Stiller and Widdoes were as suited as Jewish parents as they have been at playing other parents. I can't believe that was Arquette as the broken English son tho.
Top program, ten out of ten.
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