Tevye (film)

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Tevye
Directed by Maurice Schwartz
Produced by Henry Ziskin
Written by Maurice Schwartz
Starring Maurice Schwartz
Miriam Riselle
Rebecca Weintraub
Paula Lubelski
Distributed by Maymon Films Inc.
Release dates December 21, 1939
Running time 93 min
Language Yiddish

Tevye is a 1939 American film adaptation of Sholem Aleichem's story of the same name, also known as Tevya, Tevye der Milchiker, or Tevye the Milkman. The film is in Yiddish. The movie was adapted by Marcy Klauber and Schwartz from the Sholem Aleichem play based on his own book. Schwartz also directed the film. The movie was based on two prior works by Schwartz from two decades before: the 1919 silent movie called Khavah (or Broken Barriers) and the 1919 stage production of Tevye.[1][2]

Cast[edit]

The film stars Maurice Schwartz as Tevye, Miriam Riselle as Chava, Rebecca Weintraub as Golde, Paula Lubelski as Tzeitel, Leon Liebgold as Fedya, Vicki Marcus as Shloimele, Betty Marcus as Perele, and Julius Adler as Aleksei the Priest.

Production[edit]

The production was filmed at Biograph Studios in New York City and on a farm in Jericho, Long Island, New York. Midway through the shooting of the film, on August 23, 1939, Hilter seized Danzig and a Nazi invasion of Poland was imminent. These and other events in Europe impacted on the actors, many of whom had family in Poland. The filming was completed nevertheless.[3]

The story focuses primarily on the plotlines from Sholem Aleichem's stories "Chava" and "Lekh-Lekho (Get Thee Out)" but provides a definite ending rather than Sholom Aleichem's ambiguous ending. In this version of Tevye, as the Jews are expelled from their shtetl, Chava who had previously converted to Christianity to marry, leaves her husband, returns to her family and to Jewish traditions. It is felt that the anti-Semitism of the time influenced Schwartz to provide this ending.[3]

Post-production[edit]

Long thought to be a lost film, a print was discovered in 1978. The same story was to be the basis of the 1964 stage musical Fiddler on the Roof and 1971 film by the same name, though the fate of Chava in the ending was changed for the change in attitudes by that time.[3]

In 1991, Tevye was the first non-English language film to be named "culturally, historically, or aesthetically significant" by the U.S. Library of Congress and selected for preservation in the National Film Registry.

See also[edit]

References[edit]

  1. ^ Bridge of Light: Yiddish Film Between Two Worlds by J Hobermann. New York, 1991, ISBN 9781584658702. p.53-54.
  2. ^ Laughter Through Tears: The Yiddish Cinema by Judith N Goldberg. 1983. ISBN 9780838630747. p.97-98.
  3. ^ a b c Frieden, Ken, "A Century in the Life of Sholem Aleichem's Tevye" (1993). Syracuse University. Paper 46.

External links[edit]