Nov 3-13, Walter Reade: Hollywood’s “Jew Wave”

by jhoberman.

For a not-so-brief moment in the late 1960s and early ’70s, a new wave of Jewish leading men and women (including Dustin Hoffman, Elliott Gould, George Segal and Barbra Streisand) took Hollywood by storm, emerging among the most popular stars of the era and appearing in many films that, per the critic J. Hoberman, “featured a hitherto unspeakable degree of Jewish content.” A vital subset of the storied “new” Hollywood cinema of the post-Easy Rider era, and of the broader Jewish-American cultural revival simultaneously occurring in literature (Philip Roth, Saul Bellow) and other segments of pop culture, Hollywood’s “Jew Wave” forever changed the landscape of mainstream American movies and blazed the trail for such Jewish stars of today as James Franco, Natalie Portman, Seth Rogen, and Adam Sandler. Series co-programmed by Scott Foundas and J. Hoberman.

Thurs, Nov 3 at 6:30: BYE BYE BRAVERMAN (Sidney Lumet, 1967) Introduced by J. Hoberman

Mon, Nov 7 at 6 pm: THE FRONT (Martin Ritt, 1976)                                 Post-screening Q&A with Walter Bernstein and J. Hoberman

Complete Schedule

Read More!!

J. Hoberman, “Flaunting It: The Rise and Fall of the Nice Jewish Bad Boy”

Part I: “Hollywood’s Jewish “new wave” (a subset of the larger new wave that refreshed Hollywood content and personnel in the late sixties) had its moment between 1967 and 1973, roughly between Israel’s Six Day and Yom Kippur wars or Barbara Streisand’s appearances in Funny Girl (Columbia, 1968) and The Way We Were (Columbia, 1973). …

Part II: “Benjamin Braddock, a nice boy who acted badly in his bumbling sexual transgression and defiance of parental authority, was a crypto-Jew. There was, however, no mistaking the protagonists of Bye Bye Braverman (Warner Bros.) and The Producers (Avco Embassy)…

Part III: Going wild in public is the last thing in the world that a Jew is expected to do—by himself, by his family, by his fellow Jews, and by the larger community of Christians whose tolerance for him is often tenuous to begin with. Philip Roth, “Imagining Jews” (New York Review of Books, September 29, 1974) …

Part IV: Clearly the perceived insularity and diminishing shock value of the Jewish bad-boy film had begun to grate on critics…

J. Hoberman, ‘The Goulden Age,” Village Voice (4/11/2007)

“Only in 1970: America was falling apart, but a manic, overgrown 31-year-old kid from Brooklyn was having the greatest year of his professional life…”