Symphony of Six Million (1932)

Genres - Drama  |   Run Time - 85 min.  |   Countries - United States   |   MPAA Rating - NR
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Symphony of Six Million is not a great film, but it's a better film than its awful title would suggest. What makes it better? It's certainly not the plot; the bits and pieces of this plot are overly familiar, drawn from here and there and yon, but no matter their source, they're things that viewers will immediately recognize. As a result, it's not difficult to see where the picture is going or to anticipate how the characters are going to act or, often, almost exactly what they are going to say. But Symphony rises above its screenplay a bit due to the atmospheric direction of Gregory La Cava. It's not brilliant direction, but it's careful and precise, and it understands that the atmosphere and the background tension existing in the subtext of the story is what needs to be emphasized. La Cava also makes no attempt to tone down the fact that the characters in this story are Jewish, something unusual for a Hollywood film of the period and something which does make it rather noteworthy. Ricardo Cortez is a bit stiff in the leading role, and that's damaging; Irene Dunne is far from stiff, but she's miscast and not really believable as a ghetto girl. But Gregory Ratoff and Anna Appel are both quite good, and the rest of the supporting cast also delivers solid help.