Where is My Child?
USA, 1937, 92 minutes,
Public Exhibition Formats: 35mm, 16mm
"This film provides an insight into the concerns of Jews in the late thirties and their particular methods in playing out the reality of their situation, for whatever the numerous advantages of life in the United States, inevitably there was a price to be paid in terms of health, family ties and religion."
-Mashey Bernstein, Kansas City Jewish Chronicle
Celia Adler, doyenne of the Yiddish stage, gives a haunting performance as the film's heroine who arrives in New York in 1911 at the height of mass Jewish immigration newly widowed, friendless, impoverished and the mother of a newborn baby boy. Fearing that she cannot care for the child, she places him in an orphanage. She quickly regrets her decision, but it is too late as she finds herself tricked into the decision. Obsessed with the thought of reunion with him, she spends the next twenty-five years sea rching, pining, and bewailing her loss.
The film is filled with the conventions of the popular Yiddish stage: the melodramatic plot centering on the rupture and restoration of family ties; the comic subplot; the songs; the stereotyped characters; the happy coincidences and happier endings. Above all, it was the theme of the pains and joys of the mother-son relationship, always idealized in the Jewish folk mind, which could be counted on to strike a responsive chord. All this was bound to be familiar to the film's first audiences.
Barbican Centre (London)
University of Hartford Greenberg Center
NCJF Film Restoration
Restoration was completed with funding from the American Film Institute, the Library of Congress and the National Endowment for the Arts.
Producer Abraham Leff
Directors Abraham Leff, Henry Lynn
Screenplay Henry Lynn
Story William Siegel & Sam Steinberg
Musical Direction Jack Stillman
Original song, "The Lullaby Song" by Ludwig Katz (written for Celia Adler)
1978 Restoration © The National Center for Jewish Film
Producer Sharon P. Rivo
Director Henry Felt
Subtitles David Fishman
Prologue Michael Swirsky
Production Assistants Fredda Band Lowenstein, Mimi Krant
Animation Edward T. Joyce
Camera: Phred Churchill
Special Thanks to David R. Pokross, Henry Everett, Ruth Fein, Bernard Wax
Celia Adler Esther Liebman
Anna Lillian Alice Gross
Morris Strassberg Dr. Reisner
Ruben Wendroff Elick
Morris Silberkatsen Morris Gross
Blanche Bernstein Malka
Mischa Stutchkoff Victor
Ceril Arnon Julia
Solomon Steinberg Anderson
Esther Gerber Nurse
Leo Shechtman Young Victor
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Also directed by Henry Lynn