Cast & Crew
N. [i.e. Max] Bozyk
At Kazimierz, a small market town in Poland, a diminutive Jewish street musician plays her violin in the market place, but she is ignored until a flirt offers her two zlotys to dance. With the money, she buys herring and rolls for her father Arye, also a musician, but finds that he has been evicted for non-payment of rent. She has the idea that they can become traveling musicians, and when he worries that she will be annoyed by men, she disguises herself as Yiddle, a young Jewish boy. In a courtyard in a new town, Yiddle and Arye find Isaac Kalamutker, a clarinetist, and Efraim, or "Froim," another violinist, already playing. The two pairs of musicians insult each other, and their resulting racket as they compete causes the residents to close their windows. When Yiddle then plays a solo and the others join in, the people throw money down, and the two groups decide to join forces. That night, Yiddle is aroused by Froim as she listens to him playing his violin by a river. Later, Yiddle is disturbed when Froim, who has fallen asleep, puts his arm around her, and she dreams that dressed as a girl, she meets Froim, walks through the countryside with him and kisses him. As she awakens, she discovers that she is kissing a kitty. As they play throughout many towns, Yiddle falls in love with Froim, and when he rescues her after she falls in a river, Yiddle forgets herself and tries to kiss him. Shocked, Froim drops her in the water. The group plays for a wedding in a small town, where the bride, Teibele Lipsker, does not want to marry the groom, Saul Gold, an older, egotistical man who has been married twice before. After the ceremony, Teibele sneaks away with the musicians and becomes a singer with the group. She provokes the jealousy of Yiddle when she walks arm-in-arm with Froim, although, unknown to Yiddle, Teibele is only asking Froim to help her find Yosel, the man she really loves. Isaac convinces the group to go to Warsaw, where he knows a widow restaurant owner who wants to marry him. Once in Warsaw, Isaac decides to stop wandering and becomes engaged to the widow. Meanwhile, Teibele gets a contract to sing in a theater, and when she excitedly tells the group the news and that the owners want Froim to play in the band, Yiddle, disheartened, breaks down crying. She reveals to Isaac that she is a girl and that she loves Froim, whereupon Isaac assures her that Froim is only helping Teibele find Yosel. Isaac then locates Yosel and brings him to Teibele. The night of Teibele's opening, Yiddle visits her dressing room and, while no one is there, tries on Teibele's dress. She then finds a note from Teibele saying that she has left to be with Yosel. Yiddle tells the producer, who pushes her onstage and tells her to sing. In a song, Yiddle tells the story of her masquerade as a boy, her falling in love and her heartbreak when another girl came along. When the delighted audience laughs, Yiddle walks off in tears. However, backstage, she and Froim embrace. Froim goes to buy Yiddle a ring, and when he returns, he overhears the theater manager, who wants Yiddle to tour America, say that Froim would only stand in her way. Froim then writes a note on her dressing room mirror saying that he never really loved her and goes. At the dock as they leave for America, Yiddle and Arye say goodbye to Isaac, Yosel and Teibele, who says that Gold has divorced her by letter. On the boat, as Yiddle sits with her father in the dining room, they hear Froim's violin leading the orchestra, which is playing "Yiddle with His Fiddle," the song she earlier sang. She confronts him and the two lovers then walk to the side of the boat and embrace.
N. [i.e. Max] Bozyk
The Yiddish title of this film is Yidl mitn Fidl. In an oral history conducted by the Hebrew University Oral History Department, producer and director Joseph Green relates that he was born in Poland and had experience in numerous Yiddish theater groups in Europe and New York before he established a production company to make Yiddish films in Poland; that this was the first of four films he made in Poland; that he was able to finance this film with money he made from the release of Joseph in the Land of Egypt; that the film cost over $60,000; that most of the film was shot in Kazimierz, Poland, about an hour from Warsaw; that his company had offices in Warsaw and New York; that half of the orchestra of over fifty were from the Warsaw Symphony; and that the film was the first Yiddish film to play on Broadway. According to Green, January Nowina-Przybylski, who received screen credit as co-director, was really the technical director. Green's screenplay was originally entitled "Castles in the Air." This was American comedienne Molly Picon's first sound film, although East and West, a 1923 Austrian film in which she starred, had been re-released in 1932 as Mazel Tov with additional sound sequences in which she did not appear.