"Poland, 1937, 90 minutes, b&w/sepia tone/blue tone, Yiddish w/ new English subtitles
Directed by Joseph Green & Jan Nowina-Przybylski
The Jester was co-directed by Joseph Green and Jan Nowina-Przybylsk in 1937, following the great success of their film Yiddle with His Fiddle the previous year.
Green who had emigrated from Poland to the United States in 1924, returned to Poland with the American Yiddish theater stars
(and then married couple) Miriam Kressyn and Hymie Jacobson for the production.
Shot on location on a farm outside of Warsaw and in the predominantly-Jewish town of Kazimierz,
near Lublin, the film also stars Zygmunt Turkow, co-founder with Ida Kaminska of the Warsaw Yiddish Art Theater.
The film premiered in Warsaw in September 1937 and opened in New York City three months later
This musical drama stars a lonely wanderer, a circus performer and Esther, the shoemaker's daughter, whose family tries to marry her into a prominent family.
One of the film's centerpieces is a Purim shpil (Purim play) with its parade of costumes and music.
The Jester's lively circus and vaudeville music and set pieces provide a glimpse of Warsaw's then-thriving Yiddish revues and cabarets, which were destroyed soon after.
Many of the film's Polish-Jewish crew and actors were killed during the Holocaust, giving the film's touches of melancholy an even more profound reading for today's audiences.
Another important historical note: In 1941, the Nazis appropriated a segment from The Jester's Purim play scene
for use in their notorious antisemitic propaganda film Der Ewige Jude (The Eternal Jew)"