The Big Moment (film #10 in the Jewish Communities section of Stephen Spielberg Jewish Film Archive. Also, film #12 in the Rural Settlement and Security section of the State of Israel section of Stephen Spielberg Jewish Film Archive). [Category: Public Service]

This 50s film uses Hollywood stars and filmmaking techniques to solicit contributions for the United Jewish Appeal. Robert Young narrates three stories about fictional displaced Jewish people who are helped by agencies funded by the United Jewish Appeal. The stories are fairly touching, though in a Hollywood way. Somehow Donna Reed fails to be convincing as a displaced Jewish woman on an Israeli settlement. I’m not sure, though, whether a more documentary approach would have been more effective, as the Hollywood approach certainly has emotional appeal. The film is an interesting historical record of how charitable funds were solicited during the 50s, as well as being an interesting anomaly from a time when anti-Semitism was acceptable, though nice people didn’t talk about it much.

Ratings: Camp/Humor Value: ***. Weirdness: ****. Historical Interest: *****. Overall Rating: ****.

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