Blu-ray Release: The Jewish Soul: Ten Classics of Yiddish Cinema

Blu-ray Release Date: Nov. 24, 2020
Price: Blu-ray $39.99
Studio: Kino Lorber

Too often segregated within an academic and cultural niche, Yiddish cinema is in fact a varied and vibrant genre ripe for reappraisal. Whether shot in the fields of Poland or makeshift studios in Manhattan, “Yidishe Kino” endure not only as precious documents of a vanishing culture, but a fascinating genre unto itself, with its unique blend of schmaltz and shtick, a dash of operetta, often overlaid with brooding atmosphere.

Restored by Lobster Films, Paris, presented by Kino Lorber, The Jewish Soul series of ten films includes effortts helmed by directors like Joseph Seiden, Aleksander Ford and Edgar G. Ulmer starring such noted performers as Avrom Morewski, Leo Fuchs, Moyshe Oyster, Charlotte Goldstein, Florence Weiss and Ajzyk Samberg. Covering a  broad range of genres–comedies, soap operas, the supernatural, literary adaptations, musicals, and Lubitsch-style romances–they all feature careful new translations by Yiddish cultural historian Allen Lewis Rickman, which preserve the clever wordplay and conveys the fluidity of the multi-lingual dialogue.

Here’s a list of the films–two from Poland, the other eight made in the U.S.A.–followed by a breakdown of the disc’s bonus features:

Maurice Schwartz’s Tevya from 1935

-The Dybbuk (1937, Poland)
-American Matchmaker (1940)
-Her Second Mother (1940)
-Mir Kumen On (1935, Poland)
-Tevya (1939)
-Overture to Glory (1940)
-Eli Eli (1940)
-The Yiddish King Lear (1935)
-Motel the Operator
-Three Daughters

Special Features:
The Dybbuk: Audio commentary by J. Hoberman. Alternate 99-minute version
American Matchmaker: Audio commentary by Eve Sicular. Alternate version with 1940 subtitles. | OVERTURE TO GLORY: Audio commentary by Allen Lewis Rickman
Tevya: Audio commentary by Allen Lewis Rickman
Her Second Mother: Audio commentary by Allen Lewis Rickman. Alternate version with 1940 subtitles
Eli Eli: Alternate version with 1940 subtitles
-Printed booklet including essays by journalist and historian Samuel Blumenfeld, film preservationist Serge Bromberg and Yiddish cultural historian Allen Lewis Rickman
-Theatrical trailer

Buy or Rent The Jewish Soul: Ten Classics of Yiddish Cinema

About Laurence

Founder and editor Laurence Lerman saw Alfred Hitchcock’s North by Northwest when he was 13 years old and that’s all it took. He has been writing about film and video for more than a quarter of a century for magazines, anthologies, websites and most recently, Video Business magazine, where he served as the Reviews Editor for 15 years.