Tuesdays in September on Turner Classic Movies: The Jewish Experience on Film

Posted on September 1, 2014 at 9:21 pm

This month, TCM has an excellent series of films about the Jewish experience, every Tuesday.

TCM proudly presents The Projected Image: The Jewish Experience on Film, a weekly showcase of movies focusing on Jewish history and heritage as portrayed onscreen. Co-hosting the films each Tuesday is Dr. Eric Goldman, an expert on Yiddish, Israeli and Jewish cinema, and founder and president of Ergo Media, a video publishing company specializing in Jewish and Israeli video. Goldman is also the author of The American Jewish Story Through Cinema (2013) and Visions, Images and Dreams: Yiddish Film Past and Present (2011).

The screenings are divided into themes, which air each Tuesday beginning on September 2 at 8pm with The Evolving Jew, featuring two versions of The Jazz Singer, the story of a young American performer who defies the traditions of his devout Jewish family. Al Jolson starred in the revolutionary early sound version from 1927, and Danny Thomas took over the role in the lesser-known 1953 remake. That same night, The Immigrant Experience focuses on Joan Micklin Silver’s Hester Street (1965) and Barry Levinson’s Avalon (1990), telling of Jewish families from Europe and Russia who settle in, respectively, the Lower East Side of New York City and a neighborhood in Baltimore, Maryland.

Among films dealing with The Holocaust on September 9 are two powerful classics from the 1960s: Stanley Kramer’s all-star Judgment at Nuremberg (1961), about the trial of war criminals in 1945-46; and Sidney LumetÕs The Pawnbroker (1965), starring Rod Steiger as a concentration-camp survivor. Also screening are Orson Welles’ The Stranger (1946), in which he plays a Nazi fugitive, and Edward Dmytryk’s The Juggler (1953), with Kirk Douglas as a Holocaust survivor.

September 16 sees Israeli Classics including two TCM premieres, Thorold Dickinson’s Hill 24 Doesn’t Answer (1955), the first feature film produced in Israel; and Ephraim Kishon’s Sallah (1964), a satire that became the most successful film in Israeli history. Also showing are a pair of films focusing on The Jewish Homeland: George Sherman’s A Sword in the Desert (1949, TCM premiere), which deals with the immigration into Mandatory Palestine during the mid-1940s; and Otto Preminger’s Exodus (1960), which concerns the founding of the state of Israel in 1948.

Tackling Prejudice on September 23 are three absorbing films based on novels about anti-Semitism: Laura Z. Hobson’s GentlemanÕs Agreement (1947); Crossfire (1947), based on John Paxton’s 1945 novel The Brick Foxhole; and Arthur Miller’s Focus (2001, TCM premiere). A fourth film, The House of Rothschild (1934), was taken from George Hembert Westley’s play about the celebrated Jewish banking family and its struggles for dignity and equality in the European financial world.

Among Coming-of-Age stories on September 30 are The Young Lions (1958), with Montgomery Clift as a soldier coming to grips with anti-Semitism during World War II; The Way We Were (1973) with Barbra Streisand as a Marxist Jew who shares a bittersweet romance with a handsome Gentile (Robert Redford); and Hearts of the West (1975), with Jeff Bridges and Alan Arkin in a comedy about a young writer who stumbles into a career as a cowboy star.

Related Tags:

 

Movie History Neglected gem Television

Michael Mirasol: Movie Robots

Posted on June 26, 2014 at 9:20 am

My friend Michael Mirasol has put together a wonderful supercut of movie robots in honor of this week’s release of the new Transformers movie.  How many can you identify?

Related Tags:

 

For Your Netflix Queue Movie History Supercuts and Mashups

“It Happened One Night” — A Tribute to this 5-Oscar Classic

Posted on November 13, 2013 at 3:59 pm

One of the most insightful people I know about movies is my friend Michal Oleszczyk, and he has written a marvelous essay  about one of my favorite movies, “It Happened One Night.”  The screwball romantic comedy about a runaway heiress and a fast-talking reporter won a Best Picture Oscar and Oscars for its stars, Clark Gable and Claudette Colbert, and for director Frank Capra and writer Robert Riskin, the only five-Oscar sweep until “One Flew Over the Cuckoo’s Nest” and “Silence of the Lambs” many decades later.  Fans of the film — and those who have not seen it yet — will enjoy Oleszczyk’s witty and insightful love letter to this great film.

Pauline Kael famously said that American comedies of 1930s presented marriage and courtship as a vaudeville act, and love is indeed equaled with roleplaying throughout It Happened One Night. Peter and Ellie first click as a couple when they act out an impromptu scene to dupe the detectives sent by Ellie’s father. The entire mock-fight, taking place in a camping bungalow amidst lovingly depicted morning disarray, serves as the first instance of intimacy that’s enjoyed by both Peter and Ellie. As they impersonate conjugal strife all too plausibly (can it be that we get a glimpse into their much later married life?), they take physical pleasure in suddenly becoming a working-class bickering couple.

ithappenedonenight

The scene also includes one of the loveliest and most erotic pieces of business in the film: as soon as the detectives leave, Peter kneels before Ellie and buttons up her blouse, all the while congratulating her on the performance she just gave. He doesn’t have to look down her cleavage to signal his desire: putting on some clothes had rarely been that sexy (a point made even stronger by the fact that there’s hardly a costume change in the film – Peter and Ellie are like a pair of commedia dell’arte mimes, putting on identities even as their costumes remain the same). Even more than Dirty Dancing, It Happened One Night is a movie in which sexual bliss is signified by lovers’ harmony as performers.

Related Tags:

 

Classic Comedy Movie History Understanding Media and Pop Culture

Side By Side — From Film to Digital

Posted on August 30, 2013 at 8:00 am

Keanu Reeves — yes, Keanu Reeves — hosts a fascinating documentary about the impact of the switch from film to digital images in movies, tonight on PBS, and anyone who loves movies should take a look.  For me, the revelation had nothing to do with the quality of the image, but the good and bad consequences of allowing a digital camera to run for hours without stopping, while film cartridges had to be changed several times an hour.  Some actors, in some circumstances, love the chance to stay in the moment and keep trying new variations on the performance.  Some directors keep the camera going and wear the actors out.  As film begins to disappear in movies the way it has in still cameras, this thoughtful and insightful documentary illuminates what that means.

Related Tags:

 

Documentary Movie History Understanding Media and Pop Culture
THE MOVIE MOM® is a registered trademark of Nell Minow. Use of the mark without express consent from Nell Minow constitutes trademark infringement and unfair competition in violation of federal and state laws. All material © Nell Minow 1995-2021, all rights reserved, and no use or republication is permitted without explicit permission. This site hosts Nell Minow’s Movie Mom® archive, with material that originally appeared on Yahoo! Movies, Beliefnet, and other sources. Much of her new material can be found at Rogerebert.com, Huffington Post, and WheretoWatch. Her books include The Movie Mom’s Guide to Family Movies and 101 Must-See Movie Moments, and she can be heard each week on radio stations across the country.

Website Designed by Max LaZebnik