Forgotten Hollywood filmmaker's Jewish boxing movie screened

The great-nephew of a Hollywood filmmaker whose work has largely been forgotten said he was delighted to see one of his films screened at the Jewish Film Festival.

Edward Sloman's 1925 silent picture, His People, captured life among immigrant Jews on New York's lower East Side, in a tale of a boxing and fathers and sons. It was screened at the Barbican last week but given a new lease of life by being set to music by violinist Sophie Solomon.

Tony Sloman, the grandson of the director's brother, only discovered his relative's contribution to early cinema in 1965, when he too was working in the film industry.

"I had absolutely no idea, people in those days weren't very into genealogy and I wasn't that close to my father's side of the family," he said. "But I saw a picture and he looked just like my father and my uncle."

Born in London, the director worked in theatre before emigrating to the US, where he made some 100 films and appeared in 30. At least three of his works tackled Jewish subjects, as in the 1927 film Surrender, which starred Russian actor Ivan Mozzhukhin.

He died in 1972 and is hardly remembered, due to the fact that the bulk of his work has not survived.

Mr Sloman said he would love to know more about his great-uncle, who he said formed part of the lead up to one of Hollywood's most famous films of Jewish subject, The Jazz Singer.

"He made these films of Jewish interest when most of Hollywood was busy making films of specifically anodyne interest to appeal to gentiles, that was idealistic image that Louis B Mayer and others wanted to present of filmmaking.

"Sloman was part of a movement to portray Jewish life on the screen in commercial and universal terms."

Last updated: 12:35pm, November 23 2012