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Welcome to the Movies!


The Cast:
Moishe Oysher ... Saul 'Shloimele' Reichman
Florence Weiss ... Helen
Michael Rosenberg ... Yossel Lutchik
Judith Abarbanel ... Rivke
Isidore Cashier ... W.H. Rosovitch
Judah Bleich ... Cantor Zanvel Reichman
Mae Schoenfeld Berta Guttenberg ... Malke Reichman
Irving Hongiman   Ben, club manager
Rose Wallerstein ... Clara, Helen's roommate
Dan Makarenko ... Yeshiva Student
Mae Schoenfeld Vicki Marcus ... Saul, as a young boy
Mae Schoenfeld Lorraine Abarbanel ... Rivke, as a young girl

Dem Khazns Zundyl
(The Cantor's Son)

Directed by Ilya Motyleff and Sidney Goldin
Screenplay by Louis Freiman
Music by Alexander Olshanetsky
1937, 90 minutes, black & white
Filmed in Pennsylvania near the Pocono Mountains.
The film was released in the U.S. on December 26, 1937

This Yiddish feature film musical drama marks the screen debut of singer and cantor Moishe Oysher (Overture to Glory and The Singing Blacksmith). Shot in Pennsylvania near the Pocono Mountains, the film features Oysher in the title role of a wayward youth who makes his way from his Polish shtetl to New York's Lower East Side (the film includes rare glimpses of the Lower East Side and of 2nd Avenue Yiddish theater marquees of the period). While washing floors in a nightclub several years later he is “discovered” and becomes a well-known singer. Ultimately, Oysher's character returns home to the Old Country and reunites with his parents and his childhood sweetheart.
-- The National Center for Jewish Film


The ad on the left appeared in the Yiddish Forward (Forverts) newspaper on the film's opening day in the U.S., on December 26, 1937. Here is what it says:
"Moishe Oysher, in Olshanetsky's new musical talkie, "The Cantor's Son," the first great Yiddish musical talkie produced in America! A magnificent Yiddish folk drama that is woven with hearty Yiddish songs and melodies, sung by the famous artist with the 'golden voice,' Moishe Oysher ... Together with the well-known Yiddish actors: Florence Weiss, Michael Rosenberg, Isidore Cashier, Judith Abarbanel, Judah Bleich.
A film that touches your heart with its pathos, and you will laugh heartily with its comedy ... Now showing! At the Squire Theatre, 44th Street and 8th Avenue. Continuous from 11 a.m., 25 cents until 1 p.m. Wednesday."

In the Eastern European town of Belz, Shloimele, the young son of Cantor Zanvel, runs away from his family and friend Rivkele and joins a traveling company of Jewish actors after his father threatens to beat him for consorting with the group. The troupe, after traveling throughout Europe, goes to America, where Shloimele, in a New York ghetto, wishes he could return home. Fifteen years later, after Helen, a cabaret singer at the Roumanian Garden Café, gives the unemployed Shloimele a job as a floor washer, she hears him sing and then convinces the owner to give him a chance to sing with her on stage. Billed as Saul Reichman, Shloimele sings "My Little Town of Belz" in Yiddish and impresses Yiddish radio impresario W. H. Rossovitch, who signs him to sing on his program. Shloimele's success allows him to send money to his father to buy a new tallis , a prayer shawl, which pleases Zanvel greatly. When Shloimele sings the Hebrew prayer "Av Harachamin " over the radio, a group of men meeting to select a new cantor are greatly impressed as they listen, and they send their representative, Yussel Lufchick, to sign him. With Yussel as his manager, Shloimele tours the United States as a cantor before deciding to return to Belz for his parents' golden wedding anniversary. Helen, who now loves Shloimele, sings as he leaves. In Belz, Shloimele is reunited with his parents, friends and Rivkele, to whom he confesses that he cannot find his real self in America and that she has always been in his heart. They plan to marry, but the day before the wedding, Helen, to whom Shloimele has not written, arrives. After Shloimele explains that Rivkele was his first love, Helen tearfully hugs her and wishes her happiness. The next day as Shloimele prepares to marry Rivkele, he solemnly watches Helen's carriage depart.

You can see a film clip of this movie:




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