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Uncle Moses (1932)

Passed | | Drama, Romance | 12 December 1992 (USA)
Wealthy, powerful sweatshop owner falls in love with employee's teenage daughter, who feels obligated to marry him after he shares his wealth with her parents, though she actually loves a young Marxist unionizer.


Maurice Schwartz (screenplay), Sholom Asch (based on play by)




Credited cast:
Maurice Schwartz ... Moses
Judith Abarbanel Judith Abarbanel ... Mascha Melnick
Mark Schweid Mark Schweid ... Aaron Melnick
Sam Gertler Sam Gertler ... Sam, Moses' Nephew
Zvee Scooler ... Charlie
Rebecca Weintraub Rebecca Weintraub ... Gnendel
Rubin Goldberg Rubin Goldberg ... Moses' Father
Leon Seidenberg Leon Seidenberg ... Mannes
Michael Gibson Michael Gibson ... Moishe Gross
Wolf Goldfaden Wolf Goldfaden ... Nachman
Abe Sinkoff Abe Sinkoff ... Zalmen
Rest of cast listed alphabetically:
Ben-Zion Katz Ben-Zion Katz ... Schmiel Yossel
Jacob Mestel Jacob Mestel ... Berel
Michael Rosenberg Michael Rosenberg
Sally Schorr Sally Schorr ... Rosie


"Uncle" Moses is a wealthy garment store owner in the Lower East Side. He lords his wealth and its attendant power over the neighborhood, dispensing noblesse oblige and conducting casual affairs with numerous women. When he falls in love with the beautiful young daughter of one of his employees, he discovers what it is like to be beholden to another person. He convinces her to marry him, but she does so out of financial and social obligation, and Moses' love remains distressingly unrequited. At the same time, the growing labor movement attacks him for his exploitative employment conditions, and Moses begins to doubt the truth of the American Dream he thought he had achieved. Written by Dan Gilman <dgilman@haverford.edu>

Plot Summary | Add Synopsis


Drama | Romance








Release Date:

12 December 1992 (USA) See more »

Also Known As:

Onkel Moses See more »

Company Credits

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Technical Specs


Sound Mix:

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Did You Know?


Featured in Hollywoodism: Jews, Movies and the American Dream (1998) See more »

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User Reviews

valuable as a historical document
12 January 2011 | by mjneu59See all my reviews

One of the few surviving Yiddish language films from the early sound era is, despite painstaking restoration, a historian's artifact, of interest more to students of Jewish culture than to film buffs. The rarity of the feature is its primary virtue, and watching it is like opening a time capsule to a now-forgotten age of streetcars and gaslights, when Eastern European immigrants toiled away in the sweatshops of New York City's Lower East Side for petty despots opposed to unionization. One such tyrant is the title character (flamboyantly played by stage actor Maurice Schwartz), who may not be as noble as his Old Testament namesake, but still manages to prove by the end of the film that his heart is larger than his stomach. It might look stale after all these years, but with a generous sampling of romance, tragedy, and labor unrest the film can still be entertaining to viewers attuned to the style of such early sound relics.

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