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Hester Street (1975)

It's 1896. Yankel Bogovnik, a Russian Jew, emigrated to the United States three years earlier and has settled where many of his background have, namely on Hester Street on the Lower East ... See full summary »

Writers:

Joan Micklin Silver (screenplay), Abraham Cahan (novel)
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Nominated for 1 Oscar. Another 2 wins & 1 nomination. See more awards »

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Cast

Cast overview, first billed only:
Steven Keats Steven Keats ... Jake
Carol Kane ... Gitl
Mel Howard Mel Howard ... Bernstein
Dorrie Kavanaugh Dorrie Kavanaugh ... Mamie
Doris Roberts ... Mrs. Kavarsky
Stephen Strimpell Stephen Strimpell ... Joe Peltner
Lauren Friedman ... Fanny (as Lauren Frost)
Paul Freedman Paul Freedman ... Joey
Martin Garner Martin Garner ... Boss
Leib Lensky Leib Lensky ... Peddler
Zane Lasky Zane Lasky ... Greenhorn
Zvee Scooler Zvee Scooler ... Rabbi
Eda Reiss Merin Eda Reiss Merin ... Rabbi's Wife
Robert Lesser Robert Lesser ... Lawyer
Joanna Merlin ... Jake's Landlady
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Storyline

It's 1896. Yankel Bogovnik, a Russian Jew, emigrated to the United States three years earlier and has settled where many of his background have, namely on Hester Street on the Lower East Side of New York City. He has assimilated to American life, having learned English, anglicized his name to Jake, and shaved off his beard. He is working at a $12/week job as a seamster, the money earned to be able to bring his wife Gitl and his son Yossele to America from Russia. Regardless, he has fallen in love with another woman, a dancer named Mamie Fein. Nonetheless, he is excited when he learns that Gitl and Yossele are indeed coming to America. His happiness at their arrival is dampened when he sees that Gitl is not "American" looking like Mamie and has troubles assimilating as quickly as he would like. Except to Mamie, he tries to show a public façade that everything is fine at home with Gitl. But can their marriage survive these differences, and if not, will Gitl be able to manage in this new... Written by Huggo

Plot Summary | Add Synopsis

Taglines:

Goodbye O Lord, I'm Going To America!

Genres:

Drama | Romance

Certificate:

PG | See all certifications »
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Details

Country:

USA

Language:

English | Yiddish

Release Date:

6 August 1976 (Denmark) See more »

Also Known As:

A Rua da Esperança See more »

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Box Office

Budget:

$350,000 (estimated)
See more on IMDbPro »

Company Credits

Production Co:

Midwest Films See more »
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Technical Specs

Runtime:

Sound Mix:

Mono

Aspect Ratio:

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

Trivia

Breakthrough and first major film role of actress Carol Kane. The film garnered Kane her only ever Academy Award nomination for acting, for the Best Actress Oscar. Kane did not win, losing to Louise Fletcher for One Flew Over the Cuckoo's Nest (1975). See more »

Goofs

After Mamie leaves Jake's apartment after meeting Gitl for the first time, they're talking in the stairwell. Mamie's left earring falls off as they're talking and she leaves without it. See more »

Quotes

Gitl: You and your Polish whore can jump out of your skins!
See more »


Soundtracks

Music for Cornet
(uncredited)
Composed by Herbert L. Clarke
Adapted by William Bolcom
Performed by Gerard Schwarz
See more »

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User Reviews

Carol Kane's Absolute Best
28 June 2001 | by mercuryixSee all my reviews

If you're a Carol Kane fan, and haven't seen this film, run out and rent it now (if you can find it). But don't expect the usual eccentric comic character Ms. Kane usually plays.

Filmed in black & white, this is a very atmospheric period piece about a traditional Jewish wife in turn-of-the-century America, whose husband is dissatisfied with her and wants a more modern woman. Carol Kane plays a quiet, thoughtful wife who somehow commands the screen just by sitting there and watching the selfish, thoughtless people rant and rave about her. She is a truer definition of a hero than any of the action heroes that have come out of Hollywood in the past 30 years; thoughtful, indefatiguable and irrepressible, despite the fact that she is firmly part of the traditional Jewish community where women subjugate themselves to men.

This is not an action piece; it's a character and period piece about surviving with dignity despite poverty, repression and injustice. This is the best performance by Carol Kane I have seen, not because she can't do better, but because she hasn't been given another role this thoughtful and dynamic. If she is given more roles like this in the future, she will again prove she is one of the best actresses in the country. A great film and a great performance.

Eight out of ten stars.


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