Antisemitism and film presentation June 2007

This presentation at Limmud Oz covered the following topics:

1. Hollywood and Antisemitism: the Gabler Paradox

Here we examine the relationship between the Jews who “founded” Hollywood in the early part of the 20th century and antisemitism, drawing on the work of Neil Gabler (An Empire of Their Own: How the Jews Invented Hollywood) and Steven Carr (Hollywood and Anti-Semitism: A Cultural History up to World War II).

2. Classic 1947 Films on Antisemitism: Gentleman’s Agreement and Crossfire.

Following the realisation of horrors of the Holocaust, two unusual films on antisemitism came out of Hollywood in the same year.  Both very different, even sixty years later they established an important benchmark in dealing with antisemitism in film and popular culture.  Gregory Peck plays Phil Green, a non-Jewish journalist who pretends that he is Jewish to write a magazine expose of antisemitism.

3. Antisemitism as Motivation: The Case of Mel Brooks and Woody Allen

Two enduring Jewish comedians and film-makers both are responding to antisemitism in their work and professional motivation.

4. Classic Antisemitism Film Revisited: School Ties

With a direct lineage back to Gentleman’s Agreement, School Ties (1992) tells the story of a Jewish football star who attends a Christian prep school. Name of the Jewish character: David Greene (Brendan Fraser).

5. The Modern Take:  Borat Comes to America

6.  They changed their names.

Match the actor (col 1) with their original name (col 2)

Barbara Hershey                                                      Emmanuel Goldberg

Woody Allen                                                              Eugene Silverstein

Lauren Bacall                                                             Benjamin Kubelsky

Jack Benny                                                                  Shirley Shrift

Fanny Brice                                                                 Asa Joelson

Mel Brooks                                                                  Irwin Kniberg

Kirk Douglas                                                               Betty Joan Perske

John Garfield                                                             Barbara Herzstein

Danny Kaye                                                                Muni Weisenfreund

Al Jolson                                                                     Fanny Borach

Alan King                                                                    Laxzlo Loewenstein

Jerry Lewis                                                                Allen Stuart Konigsberg

Peter Lorre                                                                Melvin Kaminsky

Paul Muni                                                                   Issur Danilovich Demsky

Edward G. Robinson                                               Julius Garfinkle

Gene Wilder                                                                Daniel Kaminsky

Shelly Winters                                                            Joseph Levitch


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