Cohen's Fire Sale
USA, 1929, 9 minutes, B&W
with sound, in English
Directed by Robert Ross

with
Cohen's Advertising Scheme

USA, 1929, 9 minutes, B&W
with sound, in English
Directed by Robert Ross


PRESERVED
by The National Center for Jewish Film

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Contact us at jewishfilm(at)brandeis(dot)edu
or call 781-736-8600 to book now

Public Exhibition Formats: 16mm, DVD

 

Synopses
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By 1907, extended film narratives had become popular over the single gag. In Cohen's Fire Sale, Cohen is portrayed as the "scheming merchant." This time a new shipment of hats is accidentally picked up by the trash man. Cohen, made-up in grotesque vaudevillian Jewish style, pursues the trash wagon throughout New York picking up the hats as they drop off. When he finds the hats are not selling, Cohen reads his insurance policy, arranges for an "accidental" fire, and afterwards holds a fire sale. At the end of the film, Cohen sits happily holding the insurance policy as he places a large ring on his wife's finger.

Cohen's Advertising Scheme is perhaps the earliest cinematic example of the Jewish stereotype known as the "scheming merchant," a familiar caricature from theater and literature. This typical one-shot gag film was produced for the Edison Company by Edwin S. Porter, who had previously filmed the famous silent movie version of The Great Train Robbery. In this film, Cohen, a grotesquely made-up Jewish shop owner, hits upon a new advertising scheme: tricking a passerby to buy a coat on which he hangs a large sign advertising his store on the back.

Purchase the Film
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 $36.00 + shipping
Home Use Policy (pdf)

Educational Use Pricing Explain
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$50.00 - DVD Classroom/Library Use + shipping

Educational purchase DOES NOT include public performance rights. Library/Classroom Use Policy (pdf)

 

Related Films
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Early American Silents: The Cohen Films

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