Trailer
Assistive Technologies

The Plot Against Harry

Runtime
1hr 21mins
Directed by
Michael Roemer
Featuring
Martin Priest,
Ben Lang,
Maxine Woods
Body

55th anniversary screening of the new 4K digital restoration featuring a Q&A with Brandeis University Professor Thomas Doherty!

Don’t miss this rare screening of one of cinema’s least known, singular showstoppers. Revealing too much of the plot of Michael Roemer’s 1969’s The Plot Against Harry would spoil all the fun, satire, and surprises.  All you need to know is that after a nine-month stint in prison, Harry Plotnick (Martin Priest), a New York racketeer, tries to regain his lost turf in a neighborhood much changed since he went inside. Harry’s life is complicated exponentially when he runs into his estranged ex-wife, grown children and ex-brother-in-law. What follows is a verité but slightly surreal world of Mafia barbecues, Kosher catering, call girls, bar mitzvahs, lingerie fashion shows, Cuban-Chinese mobsters, subway parties, and much more. 

In 1969, writer-director Michael Roemer failed to find distribution for the film and it languished unseen until two decades later when Roemer overheard a technician laughing hysterically while making a video transfer of the film. Finally released in 1990, the film garnered critical acclaim and cult status.

Please note: by purchasing a ticket to this screening, you agree that your contact information will be shared with the National Center for Jewish Film for the purpose of including you on their mailing lists. There are no member comps for NCJF Festival Films.

Reviews
Review Text

“One of the great unsung masters of American cinema.” 

Review Author
Bilge Ebiri
Review Publication
New York Magazin
Review Text

“Neglected masterpiece…should have become an instant classic—of American Jewish cinema, of gangster movies, of film comedy, and of bold creativity on a low budget… An incisive portrayal of an era and its byways that also propounds a compelling world view.”

Review Author
Richard Brody
Review Publication
The New Yorker
Review Text

“Gives rampant ethnic nuttiness a distinctively wistful vulgarity… At once gritty and ethereal… Although The Plot Against Harry has been compared to John Cassavetes’s work, the director’s sensibility is far closer to Elaine May’s. Roemer’s satire of the Jewish urban middle class has its corollary in May’s The Heartbreak Kid.”

Review Author
J. Hoberman
Review Publication
Premiere

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