It’s a spectacle of no small proportions, the saga of Jew Josef Suss-Oppenheimer, who ruthlessly achieves the economic power which permits him, a truly sensitive alumnus of the ghetto, to mingle with the Wurttemberg ducal nobility.
In transmuting Lion Feuchtwanger’s weighty book to the screen, director Lothar Mendes and his scriptists manifest much ingenuity and skill to paint in celluloid what the German author did in his powerful novel. They just miss in presenting the major story thread. There are too many loose skeins in the plot knitting. (Locale and period is 18th century Duchy of Wurttemberg, Germany.)
Jew Suss is all Conrad Veidt, a consummate screen artist whose histrionic skill pars the best on stage or screen. Frank Vosper as the rapacious duke is excellent. Likewise Cedric Hardwicke and Gerald du Maurier in character assignments, along with Paul Graetz as the homely philosophical Landauer and Pamela Ostrer as Naomi, Suss’ daughter.