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Jew Süss (1934 film)

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Jew Süss
1934 UK cinema poster
Directed byLothar Mendes
Screenplay by
Based onJud Süß (novel)
by Lion Feuchtwanger
Produced byMichael Balcon
StarringConrad Veidt
Music by
Distributed byGaumont-British
Release dates
  • 4 October 1934 (1934-10-04) (UK & US[1])
  • 1 November 1934 (1934-11-01) (US wide)
Running time
105 minutes
CountryUnited Kingdom

Jew Süss is a 1934 British historical romantic drama film based on Lion Feuchtwanger's 1925 novel Jud Süß, about Joseph Süß Oppenheimer. Directed by Lothar Mendes, the film stars German actor Conrad Veidt in the role of Oppenheimer. The screenplay was written by Dorothy Farnum and Arthur Rawlinson.[3]

Unlike the Nazis' antisemitic film Jud Süß (1940), the British film was intended to be sympathetic to Jews, and is generally considered to be a faithful adaptation of Feuchtwanger's novel.[4] It was hoped the historical analogy, condemning antisemitism in 1730, would be a successful means of evading the ban by the British censors on political topics in films.[5]

The latter film with the same title, produced in Nazi Germany, is considered by some to be an antisemitic response to Mendes' philosemitic film.[6]




The film premiered simultaneously at the Tivoli Cinema on the Strand in London and Radio City Music Hall in New York on 4 October 1934, with Prince George and Queen Maria of Romania being the guests of honour at the UK premiere. A blurry telephoto picture of Prince George attending the London premiere was shown for the audience in New York, which – due to the time zone difference – saw the film some five hours later. According to The Times correspondent, "the reproduction was indistinct, but the picture was notable as the first attempt to use a radio photograph (see wirephoto) on the screen".[8] The film was retitled Power for the US release.[9]


  1. ^ Article in The Times, 6 October 1934, page 10: "Jew Süss" Reception in New York – found in The Times Digital Archive 2013-11-03
  2. ^ D., C. "An Important Experiment", The Sunday Times [London, England] 7 Oct. 1934: 7. The Sunday Times Digital Archive. Web. 18 Apr. 2014.
  3. ^ Ian Wallace (1 January 2009). Feuchtwanger and film. Peter Lang. p. 153. ISBN 978-3-03911-954-7. Retrieved 2 December 2011.
  4. ^ Sadoul, Georges; Morris, Peter (1 September 1972). Dictionary of films. University of California Press. p. 170. ISBN 978-0-520-02152-5. Retrieved 2 December 2011.
  5. ^ Clark, Anthony (2003–14). "Jew Süss (1934)". BFI Screenonline. Retrieved 3 April 2020.
  6. ^ "Controversial Nazi film released in Germany". BBC News. 23 September 2010. Retrieved 7 December 2012.
  7. ^ a b c d e f g h i j k l m n o p q r Tegel, Susan (2011). "Filmography". Jew Suss: Life, Legend, Fiction, Film. A&C Black.
  8. ^ Articles in The Times on 5 and 6 October, pp. 12 and 10 respectively – found in The Times Digital Archive 3 November 2013
  9. ^ Biederman, Patricia Ward (3 February 1991). "Infamous but Seldom-Seen Films of the Third Reich Will Get a Rare Screening". Los Angeles Times. Retrieved 3 April 2020.

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