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The 50 Greatest Jewish Movies: A Critic's Ranking of the Very Best Hardcover – May, 1998

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Editorial Reviews

From Booklist

Bernheimer defines a Jewish film as one that "examines an aspect of the Jewish experience and features at least one clearly defined Jewish central character." And what makes a Jewish film great in Bern-heimer's book depends on the taste of the selector and the availability of the film on video. Another prequisite of greatness on her list is proximity to Hollywood; one will not find foreign films (e.g., de Sica's Garden of the Finzi-Contini). Thus, the type of films selected are predictable, less so the rankings (number 1 is The Chosen, number 2, Fiddler on the Roof, 3, Schindler's List, and 50, who would guess, Marjorie Morningstar). What we have here is a nice little exercise that has produced a useful little video guide to Jewish films, with detailed descriptions of each film that incorporates information on its social and cultural backgrounds. Good programming resource. Bonnie Smothers

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Product Details

  • Hardcover: 212 pages
  • Publisher: Citadel; 1st Printing edition (May 1998)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 1559724579
  • ISBN-13: 978-1559724579
  • Product Dimensions: 9.5 x 7.1 x 1 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 1.2 pounds
  • Average Customer Review: 4.0 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (1 customer review)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #1,978,415 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful By K.A.Goldberg on January 31, 2011
Format: Hardcover
Author and film critic Kathryn Bernheimer presents her choice of the top 50 films with a Jewish or a partly-Jewish theme. Bernheimer provides a brief (3-5 page) chapter for each movie, one that combines both plot summary and analysis. She focuses on themes, acting, production, etc., and provides readers with a peek behind the scenes. The broad themes of these movies include the Nazi holocaust and its aftermath (Diary of Anne Frank, The Pawnbroker, Schindler's List), Jewish culture (Fiddler on the Roof, Yentl, The Jazz Singer), U.S. Anti-Semitism (Gentleman's Agreement, Homicide), and life in general (Annie Hall, Funny Girl, The Chosen). The author even included a film on Jewish gangsterism (Bugsy). Additionally, the author shows how current events affected films with Jewish themes. For example, the red scare of the late 1940's seemed to limit movies with Jewish themes. Readers may note that Bernheimer penned these pages in the late 1990's; before THE PIANIST and a couple other films arrived. Still, this is a concise and nicely informative book.
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