Cast & Crew
In the land of Canaan, Jacob's twelfth son Benjamin is born when Jacob is an old man, and during the birth, Jacob's wife Rachel dies. Leah, Jacob's first wife, finishes making a coat of many colors for Joseph, Jacob's other son by Rachel, and Jacob prophesizes that Joseph will be famous and powerful someday. Joseph's brothers are jealous of him, and their anger is increased when Jacob says that Joseph will be the superintendent over them. Joseph tries to tell his brothers two dreams he has had, which he interprets to mean that his whole family will bow before him in the future, but his brothers don't want to listen. After his brothers leave Canaan, Joseph goes in search of them. They plot to kill Joseph, until Reuben, one of the brothers, pleads that they should not shed blood, but only cast Joseph into a pit. The brothers carry out Reuben's plan, but when they see Ishmaelites on their way to Egypt, Simeon convinces his brothers to sell Joseph as a slave. Afterward, they slay a goat and smear its blood on Joseph's coat, which they bring back to Jacob, who deduces that a wild animal devoured him. Meanwhile, a merchant sells Joseph to Lord Potiphar, who soon makes Joseph overseer of his household. Potiphar's wife tries to seduce Joseph, but when he refuses her, she claims that he attacked her and made violent love to her. Joseph is put into prison, where he impresses Pharoah's butler with his ability to interpret dreams that predict the future. When Pharoah's astrologers fail to satisfy him with their interpretations of his dreams, the butler remembers Joseph, and Joseph interprets the dreams as a prophesy that Egypt will face seven years of rich harvests, followed by seven years of famine. He advises Pharoah to select a wise man to store food for the famine years, and Pharaoh chooses Joseph, proclaiming him ruler of all save himself. During the famine, Jacob sends all his sons except Benjamin to Egypt to buy food. The ten sons are brought to Joseph as spies, and Joseph, whom they do not recognize, has them imprisoned. He secretly puts money in their sacks of grain, then frees all except Simeon and tells them he will hold Simeon prisoner until they bring their youngest brother. Jacob refuses to let Benjamin return with his brothers, but when they run out of food, he relents. Joseph weeps when he sees Benjamin. Joseph has his cup hidden in Benjamin's sack of grain and instructs his men to bring back the stolen cup. Joseph then makes Benjamin his slave and tells the other brothers they can go, but Reuben says that the loss of Benjamin will kill their father, whereupon Joseph reveals his identity. As they all bow, Joseph says that his dreams have come true. Joseph sends his brothers to bring Jacob, and on the way, God tells Jacob that he will make of him a great nation. Joseph greets his father and presents him to Pharoah, who gives Jacob the land of Goshen, the best in Egypt, for his people. Jacob, however, wants to be buried in Canaan, where his grandfather and grandmother, Abraham and Sarah, lie buried. Before he returns there, Jacob predicts that after his death, his people will become slaves in Egypt and that later, they will spread over the earth among all the peoples. At a future date, a messiah will deliver them into their own nation, where they will become a mighty and honored nation. He urges Joseph to remember the value of peace, and Joseph says a blessing in Hebrew.
The Yiddish title of this film is Yoysef in Mitsraim. The working title was Joseph and His Brethren. In an oral history conducted by the Hebrew University Oral History Department on April 16, 1979, Joseph Green, who is credited in reviews as Joseph Greenberg, relates that Guaranteed Pictures bought an old Italian film, dubbed it into Yiddish and produced this film, which was a big success in the United States and in Poland. Green states that with the money he made from this film, he was able to finance Yiddle with His Fiddle, which he later produced in Poland. In addition to dubbing the silent film, director George Roland filmed some new scenes, and a musical score was added. While modern sources have identified the silent film as the 1914 Italian production Joseph in Egypt, the existence of which has not been confirmed, it is more likely that the silent film to which Green refers was really the 1914 U.S. production Joseph in the Land of Egypt, which was produced by Thanhouser Film Corp., directed by Eugene Moore and starred James Cruze and Marguerite Snow (see AFI Catalog of Feature Films, 1911-20; F1.2296). According to a March 1932 news item, this film was planned to be released during Passover in the New York area. An ad for the film claims that 5,000 people were in the cast.