AMERICAN MATCHMAKER (Americaner Shadchen)(director: Edgar G. Ulmer; screenwriters: S. Castle/adapted from the original story by G. Heimo/dialogue by B. Ressler; cinematographers: J. Burgi Contner/Edw. Hyland; editor: Hans E. Mandl; music: Sam Morgenstern; cast: Leo Fuchs (Nat Silver), Judith Abarbanel (Judith Aarons), Judel Dubinsky (Maurice), Anna Guskin (Elvie Silver), Celia Boodkin (Nat’s Mother), Abraham Lax (Simon P. Schwalbenrock), Rosetta Bialis (Mrs. Aarons); Runtime: 87; MPAA Rating: NR; producer: Edgar G. Ulmer; Ergo Media; 1940-USA-Yiddish with English subtitles)
“It’s filled with ethnic flavor, and goes down as easily as a glass of borscht.”
Reviewed by Dennis Schwartz
Veteran Poverty Row Vienna-born filmmaker Edgar G. Ulmer (“The Black Cat”/”Murder Is My Beat/”Detour”) stylishly directs this sweet Yiddish musical romantic-comedy that’s adapted from an original story by G. Heimo.
Nat Silver (Leo Fuchs) is a wealthy garment center factory owner, who worked his way to the top on his own and is generous to family, friends and his workers. Though lucky in business he’s unlucky in love, as seven of his marriages have fallen apart and his eight engagement collapses when he finds out from his would-be bride’s longtime boyfriend that she’s only interested in his money and that the schleppy shipping clerk, Joe Pinkus, says if he loses his Shirley he’s going to shoot himself. The kindly Nat, feeling that enough is enough already with him and marriage, tells his anxious mother (Celia Brodkin) and sister Elvie (Anna Guskin) that he’s going to Italy to think things over. Instead he takes to heart that someone tells him he resembles his Uncle Shya, a matchmaker from the old country. This brings on a vision showing his Uncle (played by Fuchs) at work. The suave Nat then changes his last name to Gold and rents an office space in a professional building on the Grand Concourse in the Bronx and becomes a modern matchmaker so he can bring happiness to others even if he has no mazl himself. Word of mouth spreads about how good he is and he starts drawing away clients from old-fashioned matchmakers. Things become complicated when Nat realizes after it’s almost too late that one of his female clients, Judith Aarons (Judith Abarbanel), is better suited for him than the client he matched her up with.
Around for comic relief are old-time Yiddish stage actors Judel Dubinsky and Abraham Lax. Dubinsky is the old-time presser in Nat’s factory who has corns on his feet and now serves as Nat’s house butler and Lax is a loudmouth self-promoting old-fashioned matchmaker who gets hired by Nat after picketing his office.
It’s filled with ethnic flavor, and goes down as easily as a glass of borsht. But if you don’t like cornball humor or borscht, I don’t think you’ll care for this film.REVIEWED ON 11/4/2007 GRADE: B-
Dennis Schwartz: “Ozus’ World Movie Reviews”
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