Nowina-Przybylski, Jan

(1902-1938)
   One of the leading film directors before 1939 who directed several classic films in Polish and Yiddish. Nowina-Przybylski's first films were made during the early stages of sound cinema in Poland. His debut, The Boor (Cham, 1931), draws on the familiar clash between the corrupt city and the pastoral country by telling of a love story between a former city prostitute (Krystyna Ankwicz) and a good-natured fisherman (Mieczysław Cybulski). He followed the success of this film with the war melodrama Bloody East (Krwawy wschód, 1931), which used the 1920 Polish-Soviet war as a backdrop for a love triangle. Made in 1933, The Vagabond (Przybłęda) introduced a Polish femme fatale, Ina Benita, as an attractive outsider in the Hutsul region (southeastern Poland). The film was praised for its stylized folklore, an outside view of the exotic culture, and the documentarylike scenes (Albert Wywerka's photography). Nowina-Przybylski also directed successful musical comedies, such as Love Schemes (Manewry miłosne, 1935, with Konrad Tom), featuring Henryk Wars's music (including several well-known prewar songs) and starring popular Polish actors Loda Halama, Tola Mankiewiczówna, and Aleksander Żabczyński. His suspense drama with strong religious overtones, Thou, Who Shines in the Gate (Ty, co w ostrej świecisz bramie, 1937), also was well received in Poland.
   Nowina-Przybylski is also known for directing two Yiddish classics (producer Joseph Green is usually listed as the codirector): Yid-dle with His Fiddle (Yidl mitn fidl, 1936) and The Purim Player (Der purymszpiler, 1937). The musical comedy Yiddle with His Fiddle, with the Jewish American actress Molly Picon and based on Konrad Tom's script, is today chiefly remembered for its music, written by the American Abraham Ellstein. It tells the story of a girl (played by Picon) dressed as a boy fiddler and three other klezmorim (musicians) touring the Jewish quarters of small Polish towns.
   Other films: Romeo and Juliette (Romeo i Julcia, 1933), Awakening (Przebudzenie, 1934), The Young Lady from the Post Office (Panienka z poste restante, 1935, codirected with Michał Waszyński), Little Sailor (Mały marynarz, 1936), Mr. Editor Is Going Crazy (Pan redaktor szaleje, 1937), A Song about a Great Sculptor (Pieśń o wielkim rzeźbiarzu, 1937).
   Historical Dictionary of Polish Cinema by Marek Haltof

Guide to cinema. . 2011.

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