6.9/10
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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 ... 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:

Hester Street 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

Hester Street is a real life place in Manhattan in New York City. It is situated in Manhattan's Lower East Side. As depicted in this film, Hester Street has traditionally been a center of Jewish Ashkenazi culture amongst Jewish immigrants to New York. See more »

Goofs

Early scene at table with Gitl, her husband, son and boarder, one can see the mic in the upper right-hand corner. See more »

Quotes

Bernstein: What if she'd say no?
Gitl: What if she would say yes?
Bernstein: [Gitl cuts the arrangements Bernstein was preparing for his books as he was about to leave the house] Mrs... mrs, what are you doing?
Gitl: I'm saying yes.
Bernstein: Thank you.
Gitl: You're welcome.
See more »

Connections

Featured in The 48th Annual Academy Awards (1976) 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

 
Nice and quaint.
7 July 1999 | by Hermit C-2See all my reviews

With its black-and-white cinematography, soundtrack music, and Jewish characters, this film at times reminded me superficially of a Woody Allen movie. But writer/director Joan Micklin Silver made an original film here. If you like a movie that immerses you in a less-familiar culture you might give 'Hester Street' a try.

Steven Keats plays a Russian emigre who prides himself on the way he's molded himself into a real Yankee in the USA, though the world he lives in, New York's Lower East Side in the late 19th century, is almost exclusively populated by other Jewish immigrants. When his wife (Carol Kane) finally arrives in the New World, however, she has a lot of assimilating to do. This causes the tension which drives the movie along, though it maintains a fairly light atmosphere most of the time.

Keats and Kane do fine jobs in their roles; in fact, Kane was nominated for an Academy Award. Dorrie Kavanaugh and Doris Roberts are among the good supporting cast.


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