Deadline for Danny (film #2 in the General section of the State of Israel section of Stephen Spielberg Jewish Film Archive). [Category: Public Service]

This 50s film, sponsored by the United Jewish Appeal, attempts to personalize the struggles of Israelis during the “austerity period,” when food shortages required everyone to conserve and struggle with not having enough. Danny, a young boy, is devastated to find out that his beloved cow, Elissa, is going to be slaughtered for meat because she is not giving milk. He goes all the way to Jerusalem by himself to try to get somebody from the government to give Elissa a reprieve, only to go through a frustrating round of bureaucrats ordering him to fill out forms in triplicate. He eventually is given a ride home by a man delivering fodder to farms, and he ends up witnessing a riot that starts when a village is given only 6 bushels of fodder when they need 14. After this, he gives up trying to save Elissa, but a miracle happens that allows the film to end happily. This is a very charming film that does generate empathy for the struggles of Israel’s pioneers. Its ending is a tad unrealistic, but it doesn’t really undercut the film’s message much, and since you end up identifying with Danny and Elissa, it’s a relief to see her saved in the end. The film has a great deal of historical value in documenting the early struggles of the people of Israel.

Ratings: Camp/Humor Value: *** (mainly for the bureaucrat sequence). Weirdness: ***. Historical Interest: *****. Overall Rating: ****.

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