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Welcome to the Movies!


  The Cast:    
David Opatoshu ... Fishke, the lame
Helen Beverley ... Hodel, the blind
Isidore Cashier ... Mendele Mokher Sforim
  Rosetta Bialis ... Drabke
Mae Schoenfeld Anna Guskin ... Gittel
 Mae Schoenfeld Wolf Mercur ... Getzl, the thief
Jenny Casher ... Dobe, the hunchback
  Yudel Dubinsky ... Isaak, the stutterer
Leon Seidenberg ... Frechman
  Wolf Goldfaden ... Wecker
Mae Schoenfeld Israel Mandel ... Yisrolick
Mae Schoenfeld Ben Adler ...  
Mae Schoenfeld Helena Benda ...  
Mae Schoenfeld Nuchim Brind ... Chaim Shuster
Celia Boodkin ... Chaye
Misha Boodkin ...  
Charles Cohan ...  
Mae Schoenfeld Misha Ferson ... Reb Aaron
Abraham Fishkind ...  
Mae Schoenfeld Isaac Gladstone ...  
Zishe Katz ...  
Solomon Krause ...  
Mae Schoenfeld Saul Nagoshiner ...  
Tillie Rabinowitz ...  
Mae Schoenfeld Isaak Rothblum ...  
Ben-Zion Shoenfeld ...  
Mae Schoenfeld Louis Weisberg ...  


(Fishke the Lame/The Light Ahead)
Directed by Henry Felt and Edgar G. Ulmer
Written by Chaver Paver, Mendele Mokher Sforim (novel),
Edgar G. Ulmer and Shirley Ulmer.
Music by Dean Cole.
The film was shot in Newton, New Jersey.
This film was released in the U.S. on September 22, 1939.
94 minutes, B & W



Ascot Theatre, Grand Concourse and 183rd Street
A monumental Yiddish film! New York premiere tomorrow,
Saturday evening (motzi Yom Kippur).
Isidore Cashier and Helen Beverley in Mendel Mokher Sforim's "The Light Ahead." Director: Edgar G. Ulmer; Dialogue director: Isidore Cashier,
Together with David Opatoshu, Roberta Bialis, Tillie Rabinowitz, Yudl Dubinsky, Wolf Goldfaden, Misha Ferson, Jennie Cashier, Wolf Mercur, Anna Guskin, Charlie Cohen, Israel Mandel, Celia Boodkin,
and 250 other artists ... The film is based on the work "Di kliatshe," "Fishke the Lame," "Der priziv," and "Di takse," from the grandfather of Yiddish literature ...

David Opatoshu (Exodus, Torn Curtain) made his film debut as Fishke, a lame young man hopelessly in love with a blind orphan girl (Helen Beverley) in cholera-obsessed Glubsk (e.g. Foolstown). The impoverished couple dream of life in the big city of Odessa free from the shtetl’s poverty and stifling old-world prejudices. The benevolent and enlightened bookseller Mendele (Isidore Cashier as Mendele Mokher Sforim) helps them, turning small-town superstitions to their advantage.

This 1939 Yiddish film classic, made on the eve of World War II, is at once romantic, expressionist, and painfully conscious of the danger about to engulf European Jews. Audaciously adapted from the work of novelist S. Y. Abramovitch (1836-1917), whom Sholem Aleichem dubbed the grandfather of Yiddish literature, this luminous allegory of escape marries Edgar Ulmer's masterful direction (and set design) with superb acting by members of New York's Artef and Yiddish Art Theaters. Film historian J. Hoberman calls Beverley and Opatoshu "perhaps the most beautiful couple in the history of Yiddish cinema...their scenes have a touching erotic chemistry.”

One of the most important films in NCJF’s archive collection, The Light Ahead is arguably the finest of the four Yiddish films directed by Edgar G. Ulmer. Here, the director counterpoints his pastoral Green Fields to criticize the poverty and superstition that oppress a pair of star-crossed lovers. The script was written by Edgar and Shirley Ulmer and Chaver Paver, adapting the stories of Mendele Mokher Sforim.

The shtetl denizens’ embrace of superstition over science and modernity amidst a cholera outbreak makes The Light Ahead especially poignant for contemporary audiences. The film’s climax is a shvartse khasene (black wedding) or mageyfe khasene (plague wedding), a folk ritual believed to ward off disease when two of a town’s most marginal residents are married in a Jewish cemetery.

-- The National Center for Jewish Film


Here is a short video clip from "The Light Ahead."



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