In 1944 Poland, a Jewish shop keeper named Jakob is summoned to ghetto headquarters after being caught out near curfew. While waiting for the German Kommondant, Jakob overhears a German radio broadcast about Russian troop movements. Returned to the ghetto, the shopkeeper shares his information with a friend and then rumors fly that there is a secret radio within the ghetto. Jakob uses the chance to spread hope throughout the ghetto by continuing to tell favorable tales of information from "his secret radio." Jakob, however, has a real secret in that he is hiding a young Jewish girl who escaped from a camp transport train. A rather uplifting and slightly humorous film about World War II Jewish Ghetto life.Written by
Anthony Hughes <email@example.com>
Nina Siemaszko's father was actually incarcerated in the Nazi concentration camp of Sachsenhausen during WWII. See more »
The train locomotive in the lower left-hand corner of the DVD cover artwork is correct for southern California when the movie was released in 1999, but it's totally wrong for the movie's setting in 1944 Poland. Its cab profile was used on various diesel-electric models built by General Motors for the North American market from the early 1960s onwards, it has 1990s-style dual low-mounted safety lights, and its red-and-gray paint scheme bears an uncanny resemblance to that used by the Southern Pacific Railroad in the western United States in the late 20th century. See more »
Hitler goes to a fortune-teller and asks, "When will I die?" And the fortune-teller replies, "On a Jewish holiday." Hitler then asks, "How do you know that?" And she replies, "Any day you die will be a Jewish holiday."
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Special thanks to the city and peoples of Piotrków, Poland, the city and peoples of Lódz, Poland and the city and peoples of Budapest, Hungary. See more »
Written by Hector Berlioz
Performed by Cleveland Pops Orchestra
Conducted by Louis Lane
Courtesy of Sony Classical
By Arrangement with Sony Music Licensing See more »
Worth a look for an underappreciated performance by Williams and some great supporting cast work
I won't repeat the plot as many other comments have taken care of that. Many of Robin Williams' performances have been Robin Williams playing a character -- there's a wink and a hint that he'll bust out with some shtick at any time. He (or the director, or both) contain that impulse to an impressive degree in this movie and do so without the excessive sincerity that Williams often substitutes for emotion in his other parts. (Good Will Hunting contains an overrated performance of this type.) Example: in the scene where he takes on the voices of Churchill, Stalin, and others, it's wholly within his character's desire to persuade the little girl (who's wonderfully played, by the way) that hope remains. I agree that some of the actors, notably Alan Arkin, aren't very good, but other, less-well-known ones support the movie well. In addition, I thought the production design, cinematography, and editing were thoughtful and well-done. And I liked the ending...
3 of 3 people found this review helpful.
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