Synopsis by Paul Brenner
John Frankenheimer directed this intense film adaptation of the Bernard Malamud novel. During the days of Czarist Russia, a poor but educated Jew, Yakov Bok (Alan Bates) is abandoned by his wife Raisl (Carol White). Yakov decides to leave his small village and travel to Kiev. Since it is the time of the pogroms, Yakov poses as a gentile and takes a job as a handyman for Lebedev (Hugh Griffith), a drunken anti-Semitic merchant. Yakov rises up the ladder in Lebedev's establishment, and he is eventually promoted to factory overseer-accountant. But when a neighborhood boy is murdered, Yakov's true identity is discovered. Yakov is unjustly accused of the murder and arrested. Bibikov (Dirk Bogarde), a government attorney, believes Yakov to be innocent and attempts to discover the true killer -- realizing that if a confession is forced out of Yakov, the entire Jewish population could be in dire trouble. Bravely, Yakov puts up with the brutal prison life, refusing to confess, hoping Bibikov may discover some new evidence to re-open his case.
anti-Semitism, false-accusation, imprisonment, killing, lawyer, murder, Russia, torture