Jewish Luck | Chicago Reader

Jewish Luck

A window onto a vanished world, this silent Soviet comedy (1925) takes place in czarist Russia and brings to the screen Menakhem Mendl, the hapless daydreamer created by Yiddish author Sholem Aleichem. Banned from most professions and plagued by the authorities, Mendl (Solomon Mikhoels) and his associate, Zalman (Moisei Goldblat), try their hand as peddlers, then matchmakers. The movie was directed by Alexander Granovsky, a veteran of the Moscow Yiddish State Art Theater, and shot by Eduard Tisse, who later worked with Eisenstein; they create numerous striking images, but none so unsettling as when Mendl dreams of exporting hundreds of brides to America—they arrive packed in railway freight cars. In Yiddish with subtitles. 100 min.

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