The Pawnbroker

The Pawnbroker

DVD - 2014
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Sol Nazerman is a survivor of a WWII Nazi death camp where his wife, parents and children were murdered. His soul robbed of hope, he takes refuge in misery and a bitter condemnation of humanity while managing a Harlem pawnshop. Working with Sol in the pawn shop is an ambitious man named Ortiz, whose own views and aspirations differ greatly from those of his embittered boss.
Publisher: [Chicago, Ill.] : Olive Films, [2014]
Characteristics: 1 videodisc (116 min.) : sound, black and white ; 4 3/4 in
Credits: Director of photography, Boris Kaufman ; editor, Ralph Rosenblum ; music, Quincy Jones.
Performers: Rod Steiger, Geraldine Fitzgerald, Brock Peters, Jaime Sanchez, Thelma Oliver, Juano Hernadez, Marketa Kimbrell, Raymond St. Jacques, Nancy R. Pollock.
UPC: 887090076302
Call Number: DVD P


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Jan 27, 2020

This is not going to be everyone's cup of tea-- it is bleak and hard-hitting, from the cold monochrome aesthetic to the urban hellscape setting. Rod Steiger's embittered, withdrawn character is unlikable yet one can understand why he has become so warped with pain.

Aug 21, 2019

I didn't care for this movie. However, I did appreciate both the performance of the lead--Rod Steiger--and the director, Sidney Lumet. Great work. Which is why The Pawnbroker is revered by many film buffs.

But it's sad, downbeat drama told at a leisurely, introspective manner.

Not my preferred movie entertainment.

Jan 19, 2016

Annoying start, lost interest.

Sep 01, 2015

Watched this a few years back but my comments disappeared. Anyway, best review from NYT:

Although the tragic character that Rod Steiger powerfully plays in the solemn new film, The Pawnbroker, is very much a person of today—a survivor of Nazi persecution who has become detached and remote in the modern world—he casts, as it were, the somber shadow of the legendary, ageless Wandering Jew. That is the mythical Judean who taunted Jesus on the way to Calvary and was condemned to roam the world a lonely outcast until Jesus should come again.

For this is a dark and haunting drama of a man who has reasonably eschewed a role of involvement and compassion in a brutal and bitter world and has found his life barren and rootless as a consequence. It is further a drama of discovery of the need of man to try to do something for his fellow human sufferers in the troubled world of today.

Aug 17, 2015

This black/white made in 1964 will seem dated to many & sometimes very slow. It is said to be the first US film to address the Holocaust. Rod Steiger was about 39 & gave a good performance, not as notifiable as On The Waterfront or The Illustrated Man. He was so memorable in Dr. Zhivago & In The Heat of the Night. Brock Peters is the slick talking man of town & so different than his role in To Kill A Mocking Bird - a wonderful voice. It seems strange that Steiger is not listed on top, as the entire film is based on his portrayal of the survivor.

Apr 05, 2015

Steiger, Rod 1925-2002. A name to watch for. One of the unsung great actors of the 20th Century. The Pawnbroker is a fine representation of his abilities.


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Aug 31, 2015

Sol Nazerman continued: Then you run right out and buy another piece of cloth, cut it into three pieces and sell it for three pennies profit. But, my friend, during that time you must never succumb to buying an extra piece of bread for the table or a toy for a child, no. You must immediately run out and get yourself a still larger piece cloth and so you repeat this process over and over and suddenly you discover something. You have no longer any desire, any temptation to dig into the Earth to grow food or to gaze at a limitless land and call it your own, no, no. You just go on and on and on repeating this process over the centuries over and over and suddenly you make a grand discovery. You have a mercantile heritage! You are a merchant. You are known as a usurer, a man with secret resources, a witch, a pawnbroker, a sheenie, a makie and a kike!
Jesus Ortiz: [long pause] You really some teacher, Mr. Nazerman. You really, really 's the greatest.

Aug 31, 2015

From IMDb: Jesus Ortiz: Say, how come you people come to business so naturally?
Sol Nazerman: You people? Oh, let's see. Yeah. I see. I see, you... you want to learn the secret of our success, is that right? Alright I'll teach you. First of all you start off with a period of several thousand years, during which you have nothing to sustain you but a great bearded legend. Oh my friend you have no land to call your own, to grow food on or to hunt. You have nothing. You're never in one place long enough to have a geography or an army or a land myth. All you have is a little brain. A little brain and a great bearded legend to sustain you and convince you that you are special, even in poverty. But this little brain, that's the real key you see. With this little brain you go out and you buy a piece of cloth and you cut that cloth in two and you go and sell it for a penny more than you paid for it.


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