Cast & Crew
Getsel, a Jewish wanderer, hears singing come from an orchard outside a little Galician town, and he is attracted to Esther, who is picking apples in a tree. She laughs at him and runs off, while her friend Leah gives him some goat milk. Getsel continues on to the shtetl , or Jewish village, where he has no luck finding work. Outside Nukhem's shoeshop, Nukhem's wife Tsippe accidentally throws a bowl of water into Getsel's face. Nukhem then invites Getsel in and asks him to stay and work for him. Seeing that Tsippe is against it, Getsel turns Nukhem down, until Esther, who is Nukhem's daughter, comes in and again laughs at him, whereupon Getsel decides to stay. Getsel seems to bring luck to Nukhem, who yearns to be rich, and he gets many orders for shoes to be repaired. As Getsel sits with Esther by a tree, he tells her that he once had been in love, but the woman married someone else before he confessed his love. As Esther talks of her dream "prince," Getsel imagines himself as a prince on horseback riding to Esther, but in his vision, she turns from him and walks away. On the Sabbath, as Nukhem sleeps in the afternoon, Getsel admits that he once played King Ahesuerus in a Purim play and accedes to the demands of Esther, Leah and Nukhem's father that he demonstrate. In so doing, he awakens Nukhem, who angrily rebukes the group, but they are interrupted by music from a traveling circus parading through the street. Esther goes out, and she is knocked down by a horse. Dick, one of the performers, helps her up and gives her two tickets for the evening's performance. Attracted to him, Esther goes with Leah, and Getsel follows them. When a magician asks for a volunteer, Getsel obliges and he gets soaked with water, as the crowd roars in laughter. Humiliated, Esther leaves, and when Dick follows, she goes off with him. Getsel sadly watches them together, until Leah, who is in love with him, leads him away. After meeting Esther the next day, Dick tells a friend that he has changed from being a "skirt-chaser," now that he has met an "angel." He tells Esther that he must leave tomorrow and kisses her, but because Nukhem catches her returning home, he refuses to let her out the next day. Sometime later, Nukhem inherits a fortune. Nukhem and Tsippe hobnob with the wealthy in town, and through Faivel the matchmaker, Nukhem invites the wealthy Zeidmans for Purim , hoping to arrange a marriage between Esther and the Zeidmans' son Yossel, whom Esther considers to be a "dolt." During the Purim play, Getsel, as King Ahesuerus, makes fun of Yossel, and the Zeidmans, insulted, leave. Nukhem then orders Getsel out of town. Esther thanks Getsel and they leave together in the morning. They wander to a city, and when they pass a café, Esther, who had begun to be troubled, brightens immediately as she sees Dick performing inside. She and Dick dance together the whole night, and Getsel goes off. Later, Esther and Dick find Getsel and take him to an amusement park and then to a club. Esther becomes a singer and marries Dick. When Getsel leaves town, telling Dick that he is going to marry also, Esther knows he is lying, and they pursue him. Back in the town, some of the people threaten violence as they demand that Getsel tell them where Esther is, and Leah tries to protect him. Esther then appears and introduces Dick as her husband. After Nukhem accepts them, Getsel walks off alone and troubled, stares at the apple trees.
According to a Film Daily news item, director Joseph Green signed Joseph Buloff, Hymie Jacobson and Miriam Kressyn from New York to be in the film and they planned to leave for Poland in May 1937. According to modern sources, Green replaced Buloff with Polish actor Zygmunt Turkow because Buloff withdrew to appear in a play. In an oral history conducted by the Hebrew University Oral History Department, Joseph Green stated that an imaginary town, consisting of a main street from a typical shtetl in Poland was built in a studio in Warsaw and that the latter part of the film was shot in Cracow and showed the famous Cracow church and synagogue. According to Motion Picture Daily, this was the first Yiddish film to play at the Cameo Theater in New York. According to modern sources, scenes of the Purim play were used in the notorious Nazi "documentary" Der Ewige Jude.