Yiddish Film Series: Uncle Moses


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  • Host Department: Judaic Studies, Frankel Center for
  • Date: 11/18/2014
  • Time: 05:00 PM

  • Location: 202 S. Thayer St., Room 2022, Ann Arbor

  • Description:

    When poverty and persecution compel his Polish landsmen to leave their shtetl, "Uncle" Moses, the crude and lusty former butcher, welcomes them to the promised land of his Lower East Side clothing factory. A master in the harsh new American system, with its fourteen-hour workday, Moses attempts to reconstruct the lost harmony of the shtetl community in the paternalistic order of his sweatshop. He uses his wealth to show off and leaves the daily operations to his nephew Sam.

    When Masha Melnick pleads him for her father's job, Moses, taken with the girl, rehires him. Masha also happens to be the sweetheart of Charlie, a labor activist who is trying to organize a union in Moses' factory. Moses begins to court Masha who agrees to marry him in order to improve her family's desperate financial position. She bears his child but confesses she feels wretched because she did not listen to her heart and marry Charlie who incites the workers to strike. The first Yiddish talkie engaged directly in the progressive currents of the day, political and aesthetic.

    Directed by Sidney Goldin and Aubrey Scotto. Starring Maurice Schwartz, Rubin Goldberg, Judith Abarbanell, and Zvee Scooler. USA, 1932.

    Film restoration & new English subtitles by The National Center for Jewish Film, www.jewishfilm.org

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