Our exploration of the rich cultural heritage of Jewish American movies concludes with six strikingly different and well-remembered films.
Discuss the themes, casts, stories and directors. No prior course required.
Session 1: Cast a Giant Shadow
Kirk Douglas stars as Colonel David “Mickey” Marcus, the first commander of the Israeli Army since Joshua. Senta Berger and Angie Dickinson head an all-star cast (1966).
Session 2: The Producers
Zero Mostel is Max Bialystock, Gene Wilder is Leo Bloom—hilarity, pain, outrage, Mel Brooks. The 1968 original, and you’ve seen it only once?
Session 3: Funny Lady
Barbra Streisand’s 1975 sequel to Funny Girl (she wears 42 costumes designed by Bob Mackie). With Roddy McDowall plus James Caan as Billy Rose.
Session 4: Manhattan
Our nabe in 1979, viewed through Woody Allen’s piercing (and knowing) wit, with Diane Keaton, Meryl Streep, Oscar-nominated Mariel Hemingway.
Session 5: Ragtime
Milos Forman’s vivid 1981 film of E.L.Doctorow’s novel stars James Cagney, Elizabeth McGovern and—as Tateh the 1906 Jewish immigrant/filmmaker—Mandy Patinkin.
Session 6: Schindler’s List
1993’s Best Picture/Director Oscar winner: “Whoever saves one life, saves the world entire.” Liam Neeson stars in Steven Spielberg’s Holocaust masterpiece.
Kurt Brokaw is associate teaching professor at The New School and senior film critic of The Independent (Independent-Magazine.org)
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