Ulmer's soulful, open-air adaptation of Peretz Hirshbein's classic play heralded the Golden Age of Yiddish cinema. When an ascetic young scholar ventures into the countryside, searching for...
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Edgar G. Ulmer
Ulmer's soulful, open-air adaptation of Peretz Hirshbein's classic play heralded the Golden Age of Yiddish cinema. When an ascetic young scholar ventures into the countryside, searching for the city of "true Jews," he learns some unexpected lessons from the Jewish peasants who take him in as a tutor for their children.Written by
National Center for Jewish Film
The film was shot in five days after six weeks of rehearsal. Director Edgar G. Ulmer said in an interview that the producers raised the money ($8,000) for the film by hocking furniture. When the film laboratory threatened to foreclose on the film because they hadn't been paid, the head of the International Ladies' Garment Workers Union, David Dubinsky, purchased 75,000 tickets in advance, after he saw and liked a rough cut of the film. See more »
After reading comments on Green Fields by other users, I'm afraid a lot of people won't bother with it, and that would be a shame. It's been a few years since I saw it, but I recall it as being a lovely, gentle film, and one of Edgar Ulmer's best. It's probably not for the average viewer. It is slow moving. Also, describing it as a comedy might not help, since the humor is very low key. I don't recall laughing out loud. The play is old fashioned, but it has a lot of warmth and tenderness. And it's interesting to see Ulmer tackle something like this, since he's better known for intense, expressionistic films like Detour and The Black Cat. Here the shots aren't as obviously "designed". Instead the camera lingers on the sleepy beauty of the little village. The pace is leisurely, and I thought that was the right choice to capture the lives of these country dwellers. This film isn't for everybody, but Ulmer fans should check it out. While he directed a few other movies in Yiddish, I think this is by far the best of the ones I've seen. And I think it stands on its own as a first rate piece of film-making.
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