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Clifford Odets

Radical playwright and screenwriter Clifford Odets, whose Depression-era dramas Waiting for Lefty and Awake and Sing! were cultural sensations that had enduring impact on his generation of writers, was born to Jewish immigrants in Philadelphia on this date in 1906. Raised in the Bronx, he dropped out of high school to pursue acting, and became a founding actor in Harold Clurman’s […]

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Holocaust-Period Films at the 2017 Berlinale

by Tony Wohlfarth THE 2017 BERLIN International Film Festival featured several period films set during the Shoah — remarkable, considering the festival’s location — reminding us how Germany has transformed over the past seventy-two years. Three titles stand out and are reviewed below.   Django THE OPENING FILM at the 2017 Berlinale, Django, is a […]

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Susan Strasberg as Anne Frank

Susan Strasberg, who created the role of Anne Frank on Broadway and became the youngest actor to be featured on a Broadway theater marquee as a result, was featured on the cover of Life Magazine on this date in 1955. Born in New York in 1938, she was the daughter of famed acting coach Lee Strasberg. She debuted in […]

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The Vulnerable Side of Rebellion: Cate Blanchett in “Manifesto”

by Alessio Franko WHAT DOES THE WORD “manifesto” manifest in your mind? Karl Marx or the Unabomber? Theoretical insight or idealistic impracticality? Genius or self-importance? Truth or nonsense? We parse historical manifestos in search of clues about past artistic and political movements, but attempts to take them at face value, as living texts with application to […]

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“Different from the Others”

“Different from the Others” (Anders als die Andern), a silent film offering a sympathetic portrait of homosexuality, was released in Germany on this date in 1919. Written by Magnus Hirschfeld, founder of the Institute for Sexual Science in the Weimar Republic, and Richard Oswald (Ornstein), who also directed the film, “Different from the Others” portrayed the downfall […]

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A Tinkling Piano in the Next Apartment

Eric Maschwitz, who wrote the lyrics (under the name Holt Marvell) for “These Foolish Things (Remind Me of You)” and became one of Great Britain’s leading television producers and executives, was born in Birmingham on this date in 1901. Maschwitz was an actor and radio host before serving as an intelligence and communications officer and postal censor […]

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Abie’s Irish Rose

Abie’s Irish Rose, a play about a young Irish woman and a young Jewish man who marry despite the objections of their families, premiered at Broadway’s Fulton Theater on this date in 1922. It would run for  2,327 performances until October 1, 1927, a record that would not be broken until Hello, Dolly! came to the stage in […]

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The Uncivil Servant: Family Fiction

by Mitchell Abidor Discussed in this essay: Family Lexicon, by Natalia Ginzburg, translated from the Italian by Jenny McPhee, NYRB Classics, 2017, 221 pages, and And Then, by Donald Breckenridge, David Godine, 2017, 101 pages. SEVERAL YEARS ago, my wife and I were in Venice, and in an effort to avoid the omnipresent crowds, we […]

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“Norman” — Why Trash the Jewish Community?

by Rabbi Elliot B. Gertel ALTHOUGH WELL-ACTED and creatively shot, Joseph Cedar’s Norman: The Moderate Rise and Tragic Fall of a New York Fixer, is a cynical and nihilistic assault on Jewish community. The title character, Norman Oppenheimer (Richard Gere), is a lonely New York Jewish man of limited means who seeks the attention of […]

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