The Pawnbroker

  • 1965
  • Movie
  • NR
  • Drama, War

Although there have been numerous films about the post-Vietnam era and the war's psychological aftereffects on the soldier returning home, very few pictures have dealt with the similar predicament of those who lived through WWII (or WWI, for that matter). THE PAWNBROKER, one of the seminal American films of the 1960s, focuses on Sol Nazerman (Rod Steiger),...read more

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Although there have been numerous films about the post-Vietnam era and the war's psychological aftereffects on the soldier returning home, very few pictures have dealt with the similar predicament of those who lived through WWII (or WWI, for that matter). THE PAWNBROKER, one of the seminal

American films of the 1960s, focuses on Sol Nazerman (Rod Steiger), a middle-aged concentration camp survivor who lost his entire family to the Nazis and now runs a pawnshop in Harlem. That he remained alive is a source of bewilderment and pain. He has lost faith in God and man; he is emotionless

and totally removed from the world that surrounds his run-down shop. Shop assistant Jesus Ortiz (Jaime Sanchez) and social worker Marilyn Birchfield (Geraldine Fitzgerald) try to get through Sol's icy exterior, but to no avail. Instead, Sol becomes increasingly cruel and offensive. Meanwhile, he

conducts an affair with Tessie (Marketa Kimbrell), a fellow camp survivor whose husband was a victim of Nazi atrocities.

Directed by Sidney Lumet in a gritty, raw style that was fashionable at the time, THE PAWNBROKER is memorable today for its innovative use of flashbacks--in this case quick cuts lasting only a fraction of a second--to represent the disturbing, unrelenting flashes of Sol's memory. Also

unforgettable is Steiger's towering performance as the volatile survivor, a powder keg of hateful remembrances. The soundtrack was composed by Quincy Jones.

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  • Rating: NR
  • Review: Although there have been numerous films about the post-Vietnam era and the war's psychological aftereffects on the soldier returning home, very few pictures have dealt with the similar predicament of those who lived through WWII (or WWI, for that matter).… (more)

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