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Welcome to the Movies!

 

   
   
  The Cast:    
       
David Gutman ... Neitan Becker
Solomon Mikhoels ... Tsele Becker
Mae Schoenfeld Yelena Kashnitskaya ... Majke Becker
Kador Ben-Salim ... Jim
Boris Babochkin ... Mikulich
Anna Zarzhitskaya ...  

An advertisement for the film in the Philadelphia editon
of the Yiddish Forward, which appeared on April 15, 1933:

Europa Theatre, Market, Above 16th. Continous from 11 a.m.; 40 cents to 1 p.m. ... Today ... An entire day from 11 in the morning, until 11 in the evening ... The first 100 percent Yiddish-spoken film from Soviet Russia! See what a Jewish worker, who has spent 28 years in America, has found out when he now returns to Russia ... "The Return of Nathan Becker," It will be seen for the first time as it lives now in Soviet Russia ... Hear the beloved Yiddish folk songs from the old country ... Performed by the chorus and ballet of the Moscow State Theatre, together with the Leningrad Symphony Orchestra ... The best and truest greeting from the present Russia. A pleasure that will last for a long time and will not be forgotten.

Neytn Beker Fort Aheym
(The Return of Nathan Becker)

Directed by Boris Shpis and Mark Milman
Screenplay by Peretz Markish
Music by Yevgeni Brusilovsky
USSR, 1932
Russian and Yiddish with English Subtitles
94 minutes, B & W
Released in the Soviet Union on December 3, 1932.
Released in the United States on April 14, 1933.



This rare, newly restored feature was originally advertised as "the first Yiddish talkie from Soviet Russia." The plot centers on Nathan Becker, a Jewish bricklayer who returns to Russia after 28 years in America. After reuniting with his father (played with comic eccentricity by Solomon Mikhoels) Nathan leaves the shtetl to work in the new industrial center of Magnitogorsk.

There, he and his African-American friend Jim soon find that the work habits they acquired in America that helped them to "build New York together" conflict with the Soviet system. While the film's resolution emphasizes the triumph of socialist productivity, the screenplay by Yiddish author Peretz Markish reflects the warmth and humor of the Jewish spirit.

The Return of Nathan Becker is the only Russian Yiddish sound feature film produced in the Soviet Union and was made for domestic consumption as well as for export to the United States. The film uses the character of Nathan Becker to dramatize of the failiure of American capitalism and assimilation, while glorifying the success and productivity of the new Soviet system. The film also depicts the shtetl way of life was backward and grotesque and promotes a shift away from this life and traditional Jewish values. It is a product of the Communist regime's determined efforts to reduce the rich Jewish cultural heritage to "Communist in content and Yiddish in form only."

Solomon Mihoels, actor and director of the Moscow Yiddish State Theater who also starred in the 1925 film Jewish Luck has a leading role. The screenplay was written by Peretz Markish, the renowned Soviet Yiddish poet. Mikhoels was killed by Stalin's agents in 1948 and four years later Markish was executed along side the leading proponents of Soviet Yiddish culture.

-- National Center for Jewish Film

 

Here is a film clip from the movie.
 


 

 


 




Cast listings courtesy of www.imdb.com.
 

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