Edward Sloman's delicious 1925 morality tale, made for Universal Studios, is a silent movie of the kind that must have launched the phrase "they don't make them like that any more." Rudolph Schildkraut, a renowned actor who had his own Jewish theatre in the Bronx, plays David Cominsky, a Jewish pedlar with a reverence for learning and not much ability to make money. His wife Rose (Rosa Rosanova) is a spirited sort who understands, rather more than her unworldly husband, that their son Sammy, a teen newspaper seller with handy boxing skills, is more of a mensch than their book-devoted son Morris, who becomes an uptown lawyer.
Morris is a slug but a slug with ambition; Sammy, who has boxed his way through school in order to pay for Morris's law studies, is in love with Mamie, the pretty Irish girl across the hall landing. Shock, horror, etc. All ends well with a lot of forgiveness all round.
The screening at the UK Jewish Film Festival was more than enhanced with a wonderful live score from the Jewish Music Institute's Sophie Solomon and accompanying musicians Quentin Collins, Ian Watson and Grant Windsor. Altogether a terrific event: more silent movies, please.