This classic melodrama captures the sentimental, emotional characters and the convoluted plots and fantastic coincidences which dominated the Second Avenue Yiddish theaters. Focusing on a labor dispute in the garment district of New York City, the film survives as an important historical document highlighting the hardships of the Jewish immigrant experience in America.
Motel, a poor laborer, loving husband and new father, leads cloakmakers in a strike for better working conditions. When he is severely injured by strikebreakers, his wife, Esther, and infant son are left destitute. Desperate to save her starving child, Esther gives him up for adoption to a wealthy couple, and then commits suicide. The richly-rendered beautiful Yiddish songs by Sholem Secunda featuring Cantor Leibele Waldman and Joel Feig's famous choir are a good example of the bittersweet melodrama in the finest tradition of the Yiddish theater.
USA, 1939, 88 minutes, B&W
Yiddish with new English Subtitles
Directed by Joseph Seiden
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