Museum of the Yiddish Theatre
          Visit Us            Exhibitions           
Collections            Research            Opportunities            About the Museum            Site Map            Contact Us            Links 



Welcome to the Movies!


  The Cast:    
Esta Salzman ... Surele Polakoff
Max Badin ... Moishe Polakoff
Rose Greenfield ... Esther Polakoff
Mae Schoenfeld Margaret Schoenfeld ... Bella Polakoff
Jacob Zanger ... Shimen Kupperman
Yetta Zwerling ... Bruchi
Muni Serebroff ... Juno
Seymour Rechtzeit ... Nathan Field
Dave Lubritsky ... Ben Grossman
Mae Schoenfeld Herman Rosen ... Molinofsky
Mae Schoenfeld Izidor Frankel ... Doctor



(Her Second Mother)
Directed by Joseph Seiden
Written by Izidor Frankel
Music by Sholom Secunda
First released in the U.S. on November 8, 1940.
89 minutes, B & W

Surele Polakoff, a stenographer in the office of Molinofsky & Son, asks bookkeeper Ben Grossman, whom she accuses of philandering, to stop his romance with her sister Bella. At home, Bella's mother Esther asks her to give up Ben, whom she calls a loafer. Upset that Surele has spoken against Ben, Bella complains that Esther loves Surele more than her even though Surele is not really her daughter by birth. Esther, who in a moment of weakness has revealed the secret of Surele's birth to Bella, pleads with her not to tell Surele. Three days later, Surele, learning that $25,000 is missing from the office safe, suspects Ben and fears that Bella will be implicated in the money's disappearance. Later, Ben visits Bella and, after saying that he just inherited $25,000, gives her $15,000 to hide and tells her to plan on getting married the next day, after which they will go to South America. When Bella asks Ben about Surele's accusation of his philandering, Ben states that Surele flirted with him. Extremely upset, Bella tells Surele that she is not really Esther and her husband Moishe's daughter. Surele then questions Esther and Moishe, who reveal that Surele's mother died during childbirth at their farm and that her father, in the midst of deserting her, was killed in an automobile accident. Esther and Moishe subsequently took care of Surele. Deeply upset, Surele decides to go to her mother's grave and try to find out who her parents were. When district attorney Nathan Field questions Bella about Ben, she claims that the reason he came to the house was to see Surele. To protect her sister, Surele lies, and when the money, which Bella has hidden in Surele's suitcase, is found, she is arrested. Although Nathan is convinced of Surele's innocence, he cannot get her to change her story. Surele tells Esther and Moishe that she is happy to be able to repay them by sacrificing herself for their daughter. Nathan convinces the judge to hold the hearing in his chambers, and during the proceedings, Moishe tells the story of Surele's birth. The judge, whose name is Juno, is deeply affected by the story. He remembers that he and his wife Florence got caught in a storm, and when she became sick, he stopped by a farmhouse. The doctor announced that Florence was about to give birth, but that he needed his instruments or her life would be in danger. Juno volunteered to go to the doctor's village to get the instruments, but the roads were flooded and his car turned over. After the accident, Juno remembered nothing. Moishe then recognizes him as Surele's father. Bella admits that she put the money in Surele's valise; however, to protect Ben, Bella contends that she stole the money herself, until Nathan proves that Ben is married and the father of a child. A few years later, Juno and Moishe play with their grandchild, the son of Nathan and Surele, who have married. Bella has now just become engaged to Harry, a decent man, and the Polakoffs are now a happy family.





Cast listings courtesy of

Copyright Museum of the Yiddish Theatre.  All rights reserved.















Copyright Museum of Family History. All rights reserved. Image Use Policy