Review: ‘Yentl’

Based on a short story by Isaac Bashevis Singer, Yentl tells the tale of a young Eastern European woman, circa 1904, who disguises herself as a boy in order to pursue her passion for studying holy scripture, an endeavor restricted exclusively to men in orthodox Jewish culture.

Based on a short story by Isaac Bashevis Singer, Yentl tells the tale of a young Eastern European woman, circa 1904, who disguises herself as a boy in order to pursue her passion for studying holy scripture, an endeavor restricted exclusively to men in orthodox Jewish culture.

Moving from her native village and passing as a pubescent boy, Yentl has no problem in the scholarly world, but tragi-comic results stem from the romantic situation her presence creates. Befriended by her brash, attractive fellow student Avigdor, wonderfully played by Mandy Patinkin, Yentl falls in love with him.

When Avigdor is prevented from marrying his lovely fiancee Hadass (a china doll Amy Irving) through a technicality of religious law, Avigdor pushes Yentl to marry Hadass in his stead.

Songs by Michel Legrand, with lyrics by Alan and Marilyn Bergman, have been carefully planned as interior monologs for Yentl.

In league with ace cinematographer David Watkin, Streisand has created a fine-looking period piece, working on Czech locations and in English studios.

1983: Best Original Song Score.

Nominations: Best Supp. Actress (Amy Irving), Art Direction, Song (‘Papa, Can You Hear Me?’, ‘The Way He Makes Me Feel’)

Yentl

Production

Barwood/United Artists. Director Barbra Streisand; Producer Barbra Streisand, Rusty Lemorande; Screenplay Jack Rosenthal, Barbra Streisand; Camera David Watkin; Editor Terry Rawlings; Music Michel Legrand; Art Director Roy Walker

Crew

(Color) Available on VHS, DVD. Extract of a review from 1983. Running time: 134 MIN.

With

Barbra Streisand Mandy Patinkin Amy Irving Nehemiah Persoff Steven Hill Allan Corduner
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