Hester Street

( 3 )

Overview

Among the first releases in the new wave of independent films of the 1970s, writer/director Joan Micklin Silver's portrait of turn-of-the-century New York is also important for its unflinching portrait of women's issues. Russian Jewish immigrant Gitl (Carol Kane) joins her husband Jake (Steven Keats) in New York after he has gone ahead to establish himself. Jake has quickly assimilated many American customs, much to the dismay of Gitl, who clings to her Old World ways. Gitl's discovery of how Jake was able to ...
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Overview

Among the first releases in the new wave of independent films of the 1970s, writer/director Joan Micklin Silver's portrait of turn-of-the-century New York is also important for its unflinching portrait of women's issues. Russian Jewish immigrant Gitl (Carol Kane) joins her husband Jake (Steven Keats) in New York after he has gone ahead to establish himself. Jake has quickly assimilated many American customs, much to the dismay of Gitl, who clings to her Old World ways. Gitl's discovery of how Jake was able to finance her trip to America leads to more tension, and Gitl is soon on her own with few resources on which to draw. Although the film performed modestly at the box office, it was a sign of changing times when Kane's quietly assured performance was nominated for an Academy award, a rare recognition by Hollywood of a film made outside the studio system.
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Special Features

Closed Caption; New digital transfer enhanced for 16:9 telelvisions; Audio commentary by director Joan Micklin Silver and producer Raphael Silver; Interviews with Joan Micklin Silver and Raphael Silver, Carol Kane, and Doris Roberts; Excerpt from Heritage: Civilization and the Jews, the award-winning documentary series about Jewish history and culture, courtesy of Thirteen/WNET New York; Liner notes by Victoria A. Brownworth and Judith M. Redding, authors of Film Fatales (a book about independent women directors)
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Editorial Reviews

All Movie Guide - Tom Wiener
Shooting in black-and-white, using no established name performers, and allowing some characters to speak Yiddish, first-time director Joan Micklin Silver took plenty of chances with her 1975 debut feature. They all paid off, as Hester Street rode a wave of critical acclaim all the way to the Academy awards, where its "star," a then-unknown Carol Kane, was nominated for Best Actress. Silver's independently produced film was among the first off-Hollywood features to break the art house stigma of inaccessibility by telling a genuinely entertaining story whose historical setting proved to have resonance for mid-'70s audiences, especially women who identified with Gitl, the character Kane played. A woman trying to hold together a marriage in the face of unfaithfulness and then trying to build a new life with minimal resources, Gitl was a prototypical feminist heroine. However, Silver's evocation of early 20th century New York and the immigrant experience went beyond any political agenda, giving film audiences hungry for a taste of authenticity in their historical movies a satisfying meal.
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Product Details

  • Release Date: 12/21/2004
  • UPC: 037429200629
  • Original Release: 1975
  • Rating:

  • Source: Homevision
  • Region Code: 1
  • Time: 1:30:00
  • Format: DVD

Cast & Crew

Performance Credits
Steven Keats Jake
Carol Kane Gitl
Mel Howard Bernstein
Dorrie Kavanaugh Mamie
Doris Roberts Kavarsky
Stephen Strimpell Peltner
Lauren Frost Fanny
Paul Freedman Joey
Anna Berger Poultry Woman
Sol Frieder Scribe
Martin Garner Boss
Mordecai Lawner Waiter
Leib Lensky Peddler
Robert Lesser Lawyer
Eda Reiss Merin Rabbi's Wife
Joanna Merlin Jake's Landlady
Zvee Scooler Rabbi
Lin Shaye Whore
Claudia Silver Feigie
Philip Sterling Mr. Lipman
Technical Credits
Joan Micklin Silver Director, Screenwriter
William Bolcom Score Composer
Robert Pusilo Costumes/Costume Designer
Raphael Silver Producer
Raphael D. Stewart Producer
Kenneth Van Sickle Cinematographer
Katherine Wenning Editor
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Scene Index

Side #1 --
1. Dancing [8:27]
2. Sweatshop [3:34]
3. Your Father Has Been Freed [6:46]
4. Ellis Island [3:35]
5. Homecoming [8:01]
6. Hester Street [3:02]
7. An Educated Country [4:45]
8. Gitl and Mamie [7:55]
9. American Fashion [8:08]
10. A Pox on Columbus! [6:48]
11. Central Park [6:05]
12. I Don't Want Him Back [4:09]
13. Two Couples [3:11]
14. Divorce [2:56]
15. New Beginnings [7:45]
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Menu

Side #1 --
   Play Movie
   Chapters
   Extras
      Interviews
         Carol Kane
         Doris Roberts
         Joan Micklin Silver
         Raphael Silver
      Audio Commentary With Joan Micklin Silver and Raphael Silver
         Commentary: On
         Commentary: Off
      Excerpt From Heritage: Civilization and the Jews
   Subtitles
      Subtitles: On
      Subtitles: Off
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Customer Reviews

Average Rating 5
( 3 )
Rating Distribution

5 Star

(3)

4 Star

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Sort by: Showing all of 3 Customer Reviews
  • Anonymous

    Posted October 1, 2010

    Old New York Lives Again

    Carol Kane triumphs in this exquisite period piece by Joan Micklin Silver. The film persuasively tells the story of a traditional young wife who arrives in America, only to discover that her husband now loves another woman. Slowly, she adapts to her new life in New York and finds the strength to cope with her situation. Scenes in New York's Lower East Side masterfully evoke the colorful old city, even though the film was not shot in color. Joan Micklin Silver's films are very fine indeed. For another treat, see Crossing Delancey.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted October 1, 2010

    OLD WORLD ACCURATE

    This film is so correct as to the life style and events of the time that i hve included this film in my family history as a reference. Many of my family lived in the area and passed on stories of the street merchants and living conditions. Several of my aunts and grandparents were in the tailor, push cart and candy store businesses. A great movie!!!!

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  • Anonymous

    Posted November 12, 2012

    No text was provided for this review.

Sort by: Showing all of 3 Customer Reviews