The Wandering Jew

  • 1933
  • Movie
  • NR
  • Drama

This adaptation of the wandering Jew legend is a haunting look at events to come, though the filmmakers couldn't have realized at the time how prophetic the work was to be. Filmed in Yiddish, the story deals with a young Jewish artist, Jacob Ben-Ami, living in Germany in the early 1930s. Engaged to a gentile girl, the artist has just completed a portrait...read more

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This adaptation of the wandering Jew legend is a haunting look at events to come, though the filmmakers couldn't have realized at the time how prophetic the work was to be. Filmed in Yiddish, the story deals with a young Jewish artist, Jacob Ben-Ami, living in Germany in the early 1930s.

Engaged to a gentile girl, the artist has just completed a portrait of his father entitled "The Eternal Jew." A friend warns him that the painting may be excluded from the Academy of Art because of the artist's Jewish heritage. Below his studio the man can hear Nazis marching through the streets,

belittling the Jews as they go. Soon his world falls apart as the painting is rejected and his fiancee leaves him because of his Jewishness. The artist, a veteran of WW I, is enraged that all this is happening simply because of his religion. He takes a knife and prepares to destroy the portrait

but stops when his father's image steps out of the picture. The old man gives his son a brief history of the Jews' ability to survive from Babylonian times, through the Spanish Inquisition, to czarist rule in Russia. The son realizes his destiny and considers emigrating from Germany. The film ends

with a massive anti-Nazi rally held in Madison Square Garden. The story is riveting, with the evils of Nazism speaking for themselves. In a piece of striking irony, Ben-Ami's father shows his son how good things are for Jews in the Soviet Union. Considering what has been discovered in the

post-Stalinist era about the Soviet government's treatment of Jews, the film's message becomes all the more poignant. (In Yiddish; English subtitles.)

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  • Rating: NR
  • Review: This adaptation of the wandering Jew legend is a haunting look at events to come, though the filmmakers couldn't have realized at the time how prophetic the work was to be. Filmed in Yiddish, the story deals with a young Jewish artist, Jacob Ben-Ami, livin… (more)

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