6.7/10
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Power (1934)

Jew Süss (original title)
The story of life in the 18th century Jewish ghetto of Wurtemburg. Suess tries to better himself with the help of an evil Duke.

Director:

Lothar Mendes

Writers:

Lion Feuchtwanger (novel), Dorothy Farnum (adaptation) | 2 more credits »
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Cast

Cast overview:
Conrad Veidt ... Josef Süss Oppenheimer
Benita Hume ... Marie Auguste
Frank Vosper ... Karl Alexander
Cedric Hardwicke ... Rabbi Gabriel
Gerald du Maurier ... Weissensee
Paul Graetz ... Landauer
Pamela Mason ... Naomi (as Pamela Ostrer)
Joan Maude Joan Maude ... Magdalen Sibylle
Percy Parsons Percy Parsons ... Pflug
James Raglan James Raglan ... Lord Suffolk
Sam Livesey ... Harprecht
Dennis Hoey ... Dieterle
Campbell Gullan Campbell Gullan ... Prince of Thurn & Taxis
Eva Moore ... Jantje
Hay Plumb ... Pfaeffle
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Storyline

The story of life in the 18th century Jewish ghetto of Wurtemburg. Suess tries to better himself with the help of an evil Duke.

Plot Summary | Add Synopsis

Genres:

Drama | History | Romance

Certificate:

See all certifications »
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Details

Country:

UK

Language:

English

Release Date:

1 November 1934 (USA) See more »

Also Known As:

Power See more »

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Box Office

Budget:

£100,000 (estimated)
See more on IMDbPro »

Company Credits

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Technical Specs

Runtime:

Sound Mix:

Mono (British Acoustic Film Full Range Recording System: at Shepherd's Bush London)

Aspect Ratio:

1.37 : 1
See full technical specs »
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Did You Know?

Connections

Version of Jud Süß (1940) See more »

Soundtracks

Pur di Gesti
(uncredited)
Music by Antonio Lotti
Arranged by Hubert Bath
See more »

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User Reviews

 
Positive propaganda counters a Nazi agenda
21 April 2015 | by melvelvit-1See all my reviews

German financier Josef Süss Oppenheimer vowed to attain power at any cost in order to help his brethren in the Jewish ghetto of Württemberg and his friendship with Field Marshall Karl Alexander pays off when the war hero inherits a Duchy. Süss becomes the unscrupulous Duke's Minister of Finance and is able to build schools and hospitals for his people but the beginning of the end comes when the lecherous Duke tries to rape Süss' daughter and she commits suicide. Süss concocts a brilliant plan for revenge but it kills the Duke and the financier's arrested, tried, and sentenced to death for having sex with Gentile women, an old law that hadn't been enforced for hundreds of years. He's offered an out if he converts to Christianity and he'd kept the fact his father was Christian a secret ...but will Süss save himself?

Süss is warned early on not to underestimate anti-Semitism which was "here in 1430 and will be here in 1930" so it's easy to see Lothar Mendes' elaborate historical biography as "positive propaganda", a response to the rise of Hitler and the closing epilogue asks for an end to prejudice, hoping it "falls like the Walls of Jerico and people can live as one." (yeah, tell that to ISIS) Here, Süss is portrayed as a philanthropic opportunist foolish enough to think he could harness evil for the greater good and the opulence of the eighteenth century aristocracy is vividly contrasted with the poverty of the Jewish ghetto by German émigré Mendes. Conrad Veidt's tormented martyr, guilty only of being too smart for his own good in a bad world, recalls the actor's THE MAN WHO LAUGHS and is positively riveting. Cedric Hardwicke's Rabbi Gabriel is the financier's solemn moral conscience and Benita Hume (a Mrs. George Sanders) is also very good as the "let them eat cake" Duchess. The U.S. title was POWER and the adult, sexually frank narrative must have been trimmed quite a bit for its release here.


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