Jolly Paupers

A comic performance by the famous Warsaw cabaret team Shimon Dzigan and Yisroel Shumacher provides a portrait of two schlemiels in a poor shtetl, struggling to eke out a living while cooking up get-rich-quick schemes. When Naftali, a mechanic, and his friend Kopl, a tailor, strike oil in a local field, the whole town buys into their dream with offers (including one from the local millionaire, who wants to invest) and schemes (including one by a visiting American to deprive them of their new asset). Meanwhile, Naftali hopes to seal the new partnership with a kiss-between his daughter and Kopl's son-while his wife plots to marry the same hapless daughter off to the American. And that's just the beginning of a comedy of errors spiraling off from dire straits. “Jolly Paupers is the closest the screen came to a Yiddish cabaret sensibility: irreverent, mordant, and consciously theatrical” (J. Hoberman).

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