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USA 1964
Directed by
Sidney Lumet
116 minutes
Rated PG

Reviewed by
Bernard Hemingway
3 stars

The Pawnbroker

The strongest card in Sidney Lumet's film is Rod Steiger's Academy Award-nominated performance (the Oscar, rather ridiculously, went to Lee Marvin for his double-hander in Cat Ballou) as a profoundly-alienated Harlem-based Jewish pawnbroker haunted by his concentration camp experiences.

Lumet is a director who is drawn to stories of people in the throes of personal crises (the best-known instance probably being 1975's Dog Day Afternoon). He normally does it straight-forwardly and intelligently but this somewhat awkward, rather theatricalized film doesn't really work dramatically despite being a box office success in its day.

Cinematography is by Boris Kaufman who won an Oscar for his work on On The Waterfront (1954) and the stylish (some might say too stylish) score is by Quincy Jones.




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