Le Juif Polonais (1937)

Genres - Drama  |   Run Time - 79 min.  |   Countries - France  |  
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Le Juif Polonais (The Polish Jew) was adapted from the old theatrical warhorse The Bells, previously filmed in 1925 with Lionel Barrymore and Boris Karloff. Harry Baur hams his way through the role of Matthias, a mittel-European burgomeister with a horrible secret. Fifteen year ago, Matthias murdered a wealthy Jewish merchant, using the dead man's money as the foundation for his own fortune. Now, a police inspector is nosing around the village, asking a lot of troublesome questions. Matthias is able to hide his guilt from the Law, but cannot escape his own conscience -- which shifts into overdrive whenever he hears the peal of the local church bells. Most reviewers in 1937 were unimpressed by Le Juif Polonais, with some evincing a preference for the then-unavailable American silent version.