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SALLAH (director/writer: Ephraim Kishon; screenwriter: story by Kishon; cinematographer: Floyd Crosby; editors: Roberto Cinquini/Denny Schick; music: Yohanan Zarai; cast: Chaim Topol (Sallah Shabati), Geula Noni (Habbubah Shabati), Gila Almagor (Bathsheva Sosialit), Arik Einstein (Ziggi), Esther Greenberg (Sallah’s wife), Shraga Friedman (Neuman), Shaika Levy (Shimon Shabati), Nathan Meisler (Mr. Goldberg); Runtime: 104; MPAA Rating: NR; producer: Menahem Golan; SISU Home Entertainment Inc. (Palisades International); 1964-Israel-in Hebrew with English subtitles)
“Pleasant but meandering ethnic sitcom comedy.”

Reviewed by Dennis Schwartz

Ephraim Kishon(“Ervinka”/”The Policeman”) directs and writes this pleasant but meandering ethnic sitcom comedy, that’s shot in b/w. The flawed film has value for giving us a look at the newly created State of Israel. It also gives us a chance to see the great Topol act early on in his career. Though he’s hammy, he gives a winning folksy performance.

Sallah Shabati (Chaim Topol, the stage actor convincingly plays a man who is 25 years older) is an amiable but lazy Oriental Jew, who in 1948 arrives in Israel with his wife (Esther Greenberg) and seven children. Housed in a ramshackle one-room hut in a temporary transit camp near a kibbutz, Sallah is upset it’s not the luxury apartment he was promised and is prepared to do battle with the authorities who put him in this bind.

Meanwhile Sallah’s son Shimon ( Shaika Levy) and his daughter Habbubah (Geula Noni) each are romantically involved with a kibbutz resident. Questions about the dowry arise for the impoverished Sallah, since he can’t keep a job and has no means to carry out the traditional marriage.

While Sallah tries to adjust to life in his new country, he successfully fights the bureaucracy and resorts to cunning schemes that out-wit the government officials.

REVIEWED ON 10/23/2014 GRADE: B-

Dennis Schwartz: “Ozus’ World Movie Reviews”