This series is an informative, engaging and fun presentation on Hollywood and the Jewish American Experience, curated by noted film historians Irv Slifkin and Laurence Lerman and specifically designed for Zoom interactivity. Each session includes a 1 hour presentation followed by Q & A.
THE HOLLYWOOD BLACKLIST
The Hollywood Blacklist of the late 1940s and 1950s marked a dark time in history. Fueled by the efforts of powerful Senator Joseph McCarthy, the Blacklist impacted the major film studios and the lives of entertainment industry professionals, from devout members of the Communist party to those who had little interest in the party’s beliefs. Many of those caught in the middle of this powerful political storm were Jewish, including John Garfield, Ruth Gordon, Larry Parks, Arthur Miller, Edward G. Robinson, Zero Mostel and Lee Grant. This program looks at how the Blacklist came about, how it divided the country and how a few brave Jewish movie patriots’ actions led to its downfall.
Beginning with Jewish mother caricatures in the silent era through their evolution to becoming an indispensable segment of the Hollywood storytelling machine, Jewish women have never failed to capture the big screen with their attitudes, intelligence, appearance, style and, most of all, proudly Jewish wit. From such attention-getting character actresses as Judy Holliday, Selma Diamond, Madeline Kahn, Sandra Bernhard, Sylvia Miles and Doris Roberts to superstars like Fanny Brice, Gertrude Berg, Bette Midler, Barbra Streisand and Julia Louis-Dreyfus, we’re giving it up for the ladies and all the laughs they’ve provided over the decades. And we won’t forget about Shelley Winters!
Like the “Fellini-esque” Fellini and the “Hitchcockian” Hitchcock before him, Steven Spielberg is an artist whose work is so ubiquitous and instantly identifiable that his name has inspired its very own adjective—“Spielbergian.” One of the most commercially successful directors of all time, Spielberg is the creator of such beloved modern classics as Jaws, Close Encounters of the Third Kind, E.T. and the Indiana Jones and Jurassic Park series. We examine the life and career of the grand storyteller, with a particular focus on his upbringing as an Orthodox Jew and his later Jewish re-awakening, which yielded such vital works as Schindler’s List and Munich. His interests have also inspired the creation of the Shoah Foundation and Righteous Persons Foundation, which make Jewish history and tradition more accessible to all.