Overture to Glory
Der Vilner Balebesl

USA, 1940, 77 minutes
B&W, Yiddish with English subtitles
Directed by Max Nosseck

with complete new English Subtitles by
The National Center for Jewish Film

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Public Exhibition Formats: 35mm, 16mm, Beta


"...one of the major events of the Jewish cinema... Moishe Oysher's voice is truly magnificent...." -The New York Post

"The entire film is done with exquisite restraint... Moishe Oysher's acting and singing are excellent... the music is magnificent, the finest that Alexander Olshanetsky has ever written... truly an artistic and beautiful triumph of the Yiddish cinema...." -William Edline, The Day (Der Tag)

" A milestone in the course of Yiddish filmmaking."
-Robert W. Dana, The New York Herald Tribune


The cantor of the Vilna Synagogue, played by the great real-life cantor Moishe Oysher, leaves behind his prayers to perform in the Warsaw Opera. He struggles to balance the appeal of his newfound fame and notoriety with feelings of guilt and responsibility toward his family and community.

Featuring perhaps the most convincing scenes of synagogue life in any fiction film, Overture to Glory begins during the morning service on Rosh Hashanah and ends at Kol Nidre, making the story a kind of redemptive journey during the days of awe.

Selected Screenings

Opera Know-How Festival - Poznan, Poland (2014)
Doc Films, University of Chicago (2014)
Medias Central European Film Festival (2013)
Washington DC Jewish Community Center (2009)
Argentina International Jewish Film Festival (2005)
Brooklyn Jewish Film Festival (2002)
Jerusalem International Film Festival (2002)
London Jewish Film Festival (2002)
Pittsburgh Jewish Film Festival (2002)
San Diego Film Festival (1999)
Mill Valley Film Festival, California (1998)
Stockholm Jewish Film Festival (1998)
St. Louis Jewish Film Festival (1998)
Vancouver Jewish Film Festival (1998)
Miami Jewish Film Festival (1998)
Montreal Jewish Film Festival (1997)
Festival of Jewish Cinema, Australia (1997)
Palm Beach Jewish Film Festival (1997)
Boston Jewish Film Festival (1997)
New York Jewish Film Festival (1996)
Pacific Film Archive (1995)

NCJF Film Restoration

Restoration was completed with funding from the Rita and Stanley H. Kaplan Foundation (in memory of Gladys and Saul Gwirtzman), Brandeis University, Sheldon Feinberg, The American Film Institute, The Massachusetts Cultural Council, The National Endowment for the Arts and The Righteous Persons Foundation.


Director Max Nosseck
Screenplay Ossip Dymow, Jacob Gladstone & Max Nosseck
Adapted from the play by Mark Arnshtein
Produced by Ira Greene & Ludwig Landy
Original Music Aleksandr Olshanetsky
Cinematography Don Malkames & Larry Williams
Editor Leslie Vidor
Production Design Maurice McDermott
Special Effects Makeup Ira Senz
Production Supervisor George Moskov
Assistant Director Ben Parker
Music Conductor Aleksandr Olshanetsky
Original English Subtitles Julian Leigh
Technical Advisor Morris Strassberg

1996 Restoration © The National Center for Jewish Film
Executive Director Sharon Pucker Rivo
Associate Director Miriam Saul Krant
Translator Daniella HarPaz
Assistant Translator Joshua Zimmerman
Technical Director Rich Pontius
Title Animation Frame Shop
Laboratory Cinema Arts, Inc.

Moishe Oysher (Yoel Duvid Strashunsky)
Florence Weiss (Chana Strashunsky)
Maurice Kroner (Aaron)
John Mylong (Stanislaw Maniusko)
Helen Beverley (Wanda Mirova)
Baby Winkler (Peretz Strashunsky)
Benjamin Fishbein (Nute)
Lazar Freed (Rabbi)
Erika Zaranoya (Jadwiga Godliewska)
Ivan Busatt (Opera Director)
Leonard Elliott (Tilchinski)
Max Willenz (Warsaw Shamez)
Hermann Blass (The Costumer)
Omus Hirschbein (Peretz's Pal)
Werner Bass (The Pianist)


Tablet Magazine on "Singing Sensation: Moishe Oysher" (July, 2010)

Home Use DVD: $29.95

Does not include Classroom or Library Use Rights or Public Performance Rights. More Information


Classroom/Library Use DVD: $250

Does not include Public Performance Rights. More Information

Digital Site Licensing (DSL) available - Contact us

Step down pricing for K-12 & public libraries may be available - Contact us

Arrange a screening - Contact us

Also with Moishe Oysher

The Cantor’s Son

The Singing Blacksmith

Singing in the Dark (also directed by Max Nosseck)

Great Cantors 2 Disc Set

Also with Helen Beverley

Green Fields

The Light Ahead


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