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The Angel Levine (1970)

PG-13 | | Drama | 28 July 1970 (USA)
Morris Mishkin is a elderly religious Jew in New York. His wife Fanny is very ill. He's a tailor, but he can't work because his back has given out. He doesn't even have enough money for ... See full summary »

Director:

Ján Kadár

Writers:

Bill Gunn (as Biff Gunn), Bernard Malamud (story) | 1 more credit »
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Cast

Complete credited cast:
Zero Mostel ... Morris Mishkin
Harry Belafonte ... Alexander Levine
Ida Kaminska ... Fanny Mishkin
Milo O'Shea ... Dr. Arnold Berg
Gloria Foster ... Sally
Barbara Ann Teer Barbara Ann Teer ... Welfare Lady
Eli Wallach ... Delicatessen Clerk
Anne Jackson ... Customer in Delicatessen
Stephen Strimpell Stephen Strimpell ... Drugstore clerk
Sam Raskyn Sam Raskyn ... Druggist
Kathy Shawn Kathy Shawn ... Woman in drugstore
Rest of cast listed alphabetically:
Anna Stuart Anna Stuart
Edit

Storyline

Morris Mishkin is a elderly religious Jew in New York. His wife Fanny is very ill. He's a tailor, but he can't work because his back has given out. He doesn't even have enough money for Fanny's medicine. Finally, a black fellow appears from nowhere in the Mishkin kitchen. He says he's an angel from God, sent to help Mishkin. The black angel is even Jewish, named Alex Levine? But will Morris believe in the angel? And can the angel perform the miracle that he promises? Written by Martin Lewison <milst1@yahoo.com>

Plot Summary | Plot Synopsis

Taglines:

If he's an angel, imagine what God is like.

Genres:

Drama

Motion Picture Rating (MPAA)

Rated PG-13 for sexual references | See all certifications »
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Details

Country:

USA

Language:

English

Release Date:

28 July 1970 (USA) See more »

Also Known As:

Ein Engel names Levin See more »

Company Credits

Production Co:

Belafonte Enterprises See more »
Show more on IMDbPro »

Technical Specs

Runtime:

Sound Mix:

Mono

Color:

Color

Aspect Ratio:

1.85 : 1
See full technical specs »
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Did You Know?

Trivia

'Edward G. Robinson' was originally slated to play the part of Mishkin, but had to pull out due to illness. See more »

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User Reviews

 
Faith And Race
16 February 2009 | by bkoganbingSee all my reviews

The unlikely duo of Zero Mostel and Harry Belafonte team up to give us some interesting performances and subject matter in The Angel Levine. It's one interesting twist on the themes from It's A Wonderful Life.

Zero is married to Ida Kaminsky and the two of them belong to a special class of elderly Jewish poor in New York. Mostel used to be a tailor and proud of his trade, but his back and arthritis have prevented him from working. Kaminsky is mostly bedridden. He's reduced to applying for welfare. In desperation like Jimmy Stewart, he cries out to God for some help.

Now maybe if he had gotten someone like Henry Travers things might have worked out differently, but even Stewart had trouble accepting Travers. But Travers had one thing going for him, he was over 100 years off this mortal coil and all his ties to earthly things were gone. God sent Mostel something quite different, the recently deceased Harry Belafonte who should have at least been given some basic training for angels before being given an assignment.

Belafonte hasn't accepted he's moved on from life, he's still got a lot of issues. He also has a wife, Gloria Foster, who doesn't know he's passed on, hit by a car right at the beginning of the film. You put his issues and Mostel's issues and you've got a good conflict, starting with the fact that Mostel can't believe in a black Jew named Levine.

This was the farewell performance for Polish/Jewish actress Ida Kaminsky who got a nomination for Best Actress in The Shop on Main Street a few years back. The other prominent role here is that of Irish actor Milo O'Shea playing a nice Jewish doctor. Remembering O'Shea's brogue from The Verdict, I was really surprised to see and hear him carry off the part of the doctor.

The Angel Levine raises some interesting and disturbing questions about faith and race in this society. It's brought to you by a stellar cast and of course created by acclaimed writer Bernard Malamud. Make sure to catch it when broadcast.


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