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Samson


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Editorial Reviews

While attending the university in Warsaw, Jakub Gold, a young Jewish man, accidentally kills a fellow student in a brawl. After serving some time in prison, he is released at the outset of WWII. Soon, he is imprisoned again, this time behind the wall of the Warsaw Ghetto, along with hundreds of other Jews. Jakub escapes the ghetto only to find himself trapped in a different way. A Jew in a non-Jewish world , he is haunted by the fear of being captured. Based on the novel by Kazimierz Brandys.

Special Features

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Product Details

  • Actors: Serge Merlin, Alina Janowska, Elzbieta Kepinska, Jan Ciecierski, Tadeusz Bartosik
  • Directors: Andrzej Wajda
  • Writers: Andrzej Wajda, Kazimierz Brandys
  • Format: Multiple Formats, Black & White, Color, Full Screen, NTSC, Subtitled, Widescreen
  • Language: Polish
  • Subtitles: English
  • Region: Region 1 (U.S. and Canada only. Read more about DVD formats.)
  • Number of discs: 1
  • Rated: Unrated
  • Studio: Polart
  • DVD Release Date: December 28, 2004
  • Run Time: 117 minutes
  • Average Customer Review: 4.7 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (3 customer reviews)
  • ASIN: B0006A9F6E
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #95,108 in Movies & TV (See Top 100 in Movies & TV)
  • Learn more about "Samson" on IMDb

Customer Reviews

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Most Helpful Customer Reviews

11 of 11 people found the following review helpful By Richard Brzostek VINE VOICE on July 9, 2006
Format: DVD
Andrzej Wajda brings us a suspenseful and intellectual wartime drama with his 1961 film "Samson." The story is a tragic one; it is a film about a Jewish man named Jakub who spends a great deal of time as a prisoner, of one sort or another. Before the war, he accidentally kills someone and is sent to prison. When World War II erupts, he is released from prison only to be put behind the walls of the Ghetto. It is one tragedy after another for Jakub. From there, he escapes from the Ghetto only to spend his time in hiding, again a prisoner.

The story is sad, but it is also about a time in history that was full of tragedy. It is depressing to see both before and during the war, others treating Jakub meanly because he is Jewish. On the bright side, he isn't always treated badly. In fact, many people do treat him well and help him. Time after time people help him, but it only makes him feel others control his fate. I was frustrated with Jakub overlooking his good fortunes. Two women fall for him, but he seems too wrapped up in his own thoughts and ideals to appreciate that he does have someone that cares about him.

Interestingly, but not surprisingly, the film contains a "tacked-on" message about communism. At the beginning of the film, Jakub meets a communist in the next cell over to him that is portrayed as an intellectual. Later on, he meets a group of communists that are helpful to him. To me, it didn't really add much or detract anything from having this piece of pro-communist propaganda added to the film. It may, however, be a great example of pro-government messages in cinema under a communist government.

I think the fact "Samson" is in black and white added something to the film. It is hard to put a finger on exactly, but it is almost as if the story is a tragedy and so it is only fitting that it is devoid of color. "Samson" is a stirring movie and is on par with Wajda's best work.
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4 of 4 people found the following review helpful By Kurt Harding VINE VOICE on May 5, 2007
Format: DVD Verified Purchase
First off, here's a warning: understand Polish. Though Samson is supposed to have English subtitles, those that it does have are sparse and often truncated. Its like hearing only a small portion of what is said. That caveat aside, the non-Polish speaker can still enjoy this film and understand what's going on by paying close attention to it.

This is the story of Jakub Gold, a young Jewish man in pre-war Poland who finds himself dealing daily with anti-Semitism. As he is taunted and fairly seriously threatened at a patriotic rally by anti-Semitic fellow students, he accidentally kills one of his tormenters when he deflects a large rock being thrown around that comes dangerously close to him. For this he is jailed and even in jail, no one lets him forget that he is a Jew. Then when WW II breaks out, the prisoners escape, but freedom is brief as Jews are forced to move behind the ghetto barriers being built by the occupying Nazis.

Here Jakub finds himself among his fellows and is employed to help remove the bodies of those found dead in the streets. When he finds his mother, he resolves to escape and with the another's help, he manages to scale the ghetto wall and vanishes into Warsaw's general population. But here, he finds himself in a new kind of prison as he must always lurk in the shadows trying to escape detection. Many people help him, including a couple of women who become attached to him, but there are always those who are afraid to help for fear of the Gestapo, and those whose antipathy to the Jews make his position precarious. Jakub often seems ungrateful and hostile towards his benefactors but one can almost understand this when his predicament and likely mental state is taken into account.
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful By Harry O on August 23, 2012
Format: DVD
One of Andrzej Wajda's earlier works (though it came after the A Generation, Kanal, and Ashes And Diamonds trilogy), this complex and powerful film works on many levels. Jakob is a Jewish student who is imprisoned after accidentally killing a fellow student while being baited by his anti-Semitic fellow students. He escapes prison during the German invasion, only to be imprisoned again, this time in the Warsaw ghetto. He escapes the ghetto, only to be "imprisoned" again trying to avoid capture by the Germans or betrayal by his fellow Poles. The film is an indictment of Polish anti-Semitism, while at the same time it honors those who who tried to help the Jews during the Warsaw Ghetto days. It is a tale of survival while at the same time it explores the psychological trauma of survivor's guilt. This is not a film for those who want to leave their minds at the door before entering the theater, but rather it is a film for those who like them to to be thought provoking and intellectually challenging.
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