Fun Size Review: East and West (1923)

The earliest surviving Yiddish language film is also a cute little culture clash comedy. Stage legend Molly Picon plays a secular Jewish-American girl who visits her religiously devout extended family back in Poland. Chaos ensues when she accidentally marries a penniless student (Yonkel Kalich, Picon’s real-life husband).

Picon is just as cute as a bug’s ear and carries the picture with her energetic antics. When she’s happy, she dances, when she’s angry, the boxing gloves come on. (Why do European productions have the idea that all American girls love boxing? I have never aspired to pugilism. Am I alone in this?)

The budget is clearly low but its historically valuable and a treat to watch.

You thought I was kidding?
You thought I was kidding?
How does it end? Hover or tap below for a spoiler.

In a reversal of the usual romantic comedy trope, Kalich decides that he must win his bride over and the only way to do it is to get a makeover. So off to Vienna he goes and, you know what, it works! Picon loves his new look and his new urbane ways. Happy endings all around.

If it were a dessert it would be: Peach Raspberry Slump. It’s not the most sophisticated or the latest style but you will definitely want seconds!

Read my full-length review here. I had a great time researching the intriguing Molly Picon and I think you will enjoy learning about her too.

Availability: Available on DVD directly from the National Center for Jewish Film. It’s a little on the pricey side ($36USD as of this writing) but the money will go toward preserving and releasing even more rare films so I urge you to give the purchase consideration.

2 Comments

  1. Maureen Feinblatt

    Molly Picon is something of a legend in my partner’s family. LOVE her on screen, and love this pocket-sized review of feisty Molly as a kid!

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