The arc of Jewish-matters in cinema; CineCon screening seminal "None Shall Escape" coincides with deaths of iconic Jewish actors

Fyvush Finkel of "Boston Public" and "Picket Fences"
Orthodox actor, Stephen Hill in "Law and Order"
The movie "None Shall Escape" (screening at Hollywood's "CineCon" on Friday afternoon) opened the door tor showing Jewish characters and Holocaust issues, according to film historian, Stan Taffel. It's coincidental that within the same week of the screening, the world lost 3 iconic Jewish actors: Fyvush Finkel, 93, veteran of Yiddish theater and both the small and big-screens; Stephen Hill, 94, the orthodox Jewish star of "Mission: Impossible" and "Law and Order;" and 83-year old Gene Wilder, 
"Rabbi" Gene Wilder and Harrison Ford in "The Frisco Kid"
who portrayed Jewish characters Leo Bloom in "The Producers," and Rabbi Avram Belinsky in "The Frisco Kid."

Producer, Mace Neufeld may be best-known for having produced Tom Clancy's "Jack Ryan" political thrillers. At the Israeli Film Festival 2014, we asked him background about his 1979 classic,"The Frisco Kid" which starred Gene Wilder and Harrison Ford. We asked him why since that release are films which depict Jewish life and customs, as he did with "The Frisco Kid," so rare.


"None Shall Escape" (1944) was the first American movie which depicted European anti-Semitism and Holocaust activities. It was screened by the L.A. Jewish Film Festival this spring. 

Watch Q&A with Director of UCLA Film & Television Archive, Dr. Jan-Christopher Horak in conversation with Hilary Helstein, Exec. Director, Los Angeles Jewish Film Festival. Restored-film courtesy of Sony Pictures Entertainment.

CineCon (running in Hollywood September 1st through Labor Day) will screen this seminal, American-produced, anti-Semitism expose, "None Shall Escape" with a visit from co-star, Marsha Hunt. 


CineCon VP Stan Taffel explains that this film paved the way for Charlie Chaplin to become the first Hollywood star to produce a movie with an anti-Nazi message. This opened the door for others to address anti-Semitism in and after World War II in motion pictures. 



Max Davidson in 1927 MGM publicity
Mr. Taffel discusses the irony of Max Davidson a German film actor known for his comedic. Jewish persona during the silent film era. In an article on Laurel-and-Hardy.com, hstorian Richard Bann asserts that Davidson's career was scuttled by MGM chiefs Louis B. Mayer and Nicholas Schenck, who objected to his portrayal of a stereotypical (and more importantly, unassimilated) Jew and forced Roach to terminate him shortly after sound arrived

As the three who passed this week have proven, the role of the Jew in American film and TV has come a long way.

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