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Welcome to the Movies!


  The Cast:    
Avrom Morewski ... Rabbi Ezriel ben Hodos
Ajzyk Samberg ... Meszulach, the messenger
Mojzesz Lipman ... Sender Brynicer bent
Lili Liliana ... Lea, Sender's daughter
Leon Liebgold ... Chana ben Nisan
Dina Halpern ... Aunt Frade
Max Bozyk ... Nute, Sender's friend
Mae Schoenfeld M. Messinger ... Menasze, the prospective groom
Mae Schoenfeld Gerszon Lemberger ... Nisan ben Rifke
Mae Schoenfeld Samuel Bronecki ... Nachman, Menasze's father
Samuel Landau ... Zalman - swat
Mae Schoenfeld Judith Berg ... Dancer
  Simche Fostel ...  
Mae Schoenfeld Goldenberg ...  
Mae Schoenfeld Gorbanowa ...  
Mae Schoenfeld Hauerowa ...  
Zise Kac ... Mendel
Mae Schoenfeld Peisach Kerman ...  
Mae Schoenfeld Kon ...  
Mae Schoenfeld Abraham Kurc ... Michael
David Lederman ... Meir
Mae Schoenfeld Lipmanowa ...  
Mae Schoenfeld Mel ...  
Mae Schoenfeld Stokfederowa ...  
Mae Schoenfeld Winer ...  

Director: Maurice Schwartz
Music: Sholom Secunda
Adapted from Sholem Aleichem
The film was first released in the U.S. on 21 December 1939.
Filmed in New York City and Jericho, New York.
black & white
93 minutes


Maurice Schwartz's adaptation of the classic Sholem Aleichem play centers on Khave, Tevye the Dairyman’s daughter, who falls in love with Fedye, the son of a Ukrainian peasant. Her courtship and marriage pit Tevye’s love for his daughter against his deep-seated faith and loyalty to tradition.

The clash between tradition and modernity, parental authority and love, customs and enlightenment are foreshadowed by the antisemitism of the rural community. Tevye's world is a microcosm of the larger world of Russian Jewry in the early 1900s.

-- The National Center for Jewish Film



This film review appeared in the Brooklyn (N.Y.) Daily Eagle on December 12, 1939:

Sholem Aleichem looked back to his homeland during the years of the Czar to find the locale for his story, "Tevya," the New Yiddish film with which the Continental Theater repopened yesterday. And into these familiar surroundings he set a Jewish family to work out an equally familiar religious problem -- the question of Jewish law forbidding intermarriage.

Basically it is a trite plot that on many earlier occasions has been responsible for tear-drenched drama. Yesterday it was less poignant because it was so well-known. "Tevya's" attractions are not in the emotional power of its drama but in the characterizations that Sholem Aleichem has sketched and in Maurice Schwartz' playing of Tevya, a poor dairyman.

Tevya is an unhappy man, for his daughter has run off with a Christian. But, unlike most of his Yiddish-screen forebears, Tevya is sometimes a humorous fellow who persists in misquoting Scripture with the best intentions and who can match the best of Jewish-stage comedians when he reasons with his bony old mare. he is an unusual figure, splendidly played by Mr. Schwartz.

Mr. Schwartz is a better screen actor than a screen director; his film is unnecessarily long and slowly paced, thus adding to the already sizeable burden contributed by the unsuspenseful script. He would have profited by [a] more compact staging, and an intensive session of scissoring. The cast including Miriam Riselle, Rebecca Weintraub and Leon Liebgold, would have had an easier job, then, in keeping "Tevya" up to the Yiddish standard.



"A great play -- even a greater film. The Meimon Film, Inc. have the great honor to present, starting today, Thursday at 10 a.m., Maurice Schwartz in Sholem Aleichem's 'Tevye the Dairyman,' with Miriam Riselle, in a great personnel of the famous Yiddish actor ... Music by Sholem Secunda (English titles) ... Will definitely not be shown in any other theatres this season ... Henry Ziskind, Producer; Edwin A. Relkin, General Manager ... Continental Theatre, Broadway and 52nd Street. Phone Circle 8-8429."

You can watch a film clip of the film here.





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