Romance of a Jewess

USA, 1908, 10 minutes
B&W, Silent with English intertitles
Directed by D.W. Griffith

by The National Center for Jewish Film

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Public Exhibition Formats: 16mm, Beta


This early D.W. Griffith short shows the director's interest in Jewish ghetto life, portrayed here with sympathy and sentimentality. The melodramatic plot involves the conflict between generations that life in the New World brought to the Jewish family.

Lower East Side street scenes blend actors from the Biograph Studios (such as the young Gladys Eagan) with actual street vendors and passersby in such a natural way that it is obvious they were shot candidly with a hidden camera. The part of Ruth, heroine of the story is played by Florence Lawrence, the "Biograph Girl" whose popularity with audiences was such that she became the first American movie star even before her name was known. Romance of a Jewess anticipates Jewish immigrant dramas like The Jazz Singer and His People. Griffith explored similar themes in Old Isaacs, the Pawnbroker and A Child of the Ghetto.

Selected Screenings

Cinebeasts/Anthology Film Archive, New York (2012)

Home Use DVD: $19.95

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


Classroom/Library Use DVD: $50

Does not include Public Performance Rights. More Information

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