The Pawnbroker (1965)
The Pawnbroker Photos
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as Sol Nazerman
as Marilyn Birchfield
as Jesus Ortiz
as Ortiz's Girl
as Mr. Smith
as Mrs. Ortiz
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Critic Reviews for The Pawnbroker
The rare film that's Important with a capital "I" as well as Great with a capital "G."
Lumet seems to me something of a puzzle. While some instinct leads him to undertake tremendously promising projects, he brings to those projects only a stunning literal-mindedness.
It is our statement that Nazerman is as much Lumet's creation as Steigers: mood and visuals combine with the performance to present a screen creation wholly worthy of Emil Janning's work with Von Sternberg in Blue Angel.
The Pawnbroker seemed to me a bore and a phony, a vulgarization of a serious theme, an exploitation of cinematic "effects" used without taste or intelligence.
If The Pawnbroker is nasty, the reason is that director Sidney Lumet consistently overplays his hand. Apart from a magnificent virtuoso performance by Rod Steiger - that incredibly versatile actor - the movie has nothing to do with art.
Audience Reviews for The Pawnbroker
Perhaps one of the few films about the legacy of the Holocaust, that is entirely focused on despair and emptiness . . . that being said, I get the feeling that Lumet was a little too into the French New Wave when he made this. I don't mean to belittle that movement, but it doesn't completely works for this kind of narrative.
Steiger is wonderful as an emotional (and physical) survivor attempting some degree of normal after being through horror. A hit for Lumet.
An amazingly acted & directed punch to the gut. Check out Ralph Rosenblum's great book for a look at the editing of this picture. It's called, When Shooting Stops.
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