Skokie (1981) starring Danny Kaye, Brian Dennehy, Eli Wallach
Skokie is many things. It is Danny Kaye‘s final film. It is Danny Kaye’s only strictly dramatic role. It is a balanced view at two sides of an issue. It looks at the survivors of the Nazi holocaust. It provides wonderful acting by some truly great actors, including Danny Kaye, Eli Wallach, Brian Dennehy, and Carl Reiner, It is an absolute classic, that everyone should watch.
Danny Kaye stars as Max Feldman, a quiet man in a quiet town – Skokie, Illinois – until he hears of a march planned by modern-day Nazis through his little town. Max is a survivor of the Nazi concentration camps of World War II. He was silent once and is determined not to be silent in the face of evil again. Against the wishes of his wife, he tells their daughter of the horrors of the concentration camp for the first time; like many survivors, Max and his wife have tried to spare their daughter the knowledge of what happened to them there.
If the Nazis march in here in Skokie, you can believe me I will be there. I will be there with baseball bats, with a gun, with anything. I will be in Skokie if the Nazis will march. — Max Feldman (Danny Kaye)
When Max speaks up and tries to stop the march from taking place, the leader of the Nazi group approaches the ACLU, and has a Jewish attorney agree to represent them in court. Both the court action and a dramatic kitchen scene between the Jewish lawyer and Max are well-rounded and riveting. It’s highly recommended.
Editorial review of Skokie – a Danny Kaye movie made for TV, courtesy of Amazon.com
This is the story of some Modern day Nazi activists who plan to march through the predominantly Jewish community of Skokie. The town officials tell the citizens to ignore them cause there’s nothing that they can do. But one citizen (Kaye) who’s a death camp survivor says that he was told this nearly forty years ago in Germany and before he knew it he was in a concentration camp. He says this time if they march, he will not ignore them; he will take action. So, the mayor does what he can to stop them, so the Nazi’s leader (Dzundza) goes to the ACLU, and the Jewish lawyer (Rubinstein) he speaks to, says that this is a violation of the First Amendment and takes the case to court.
Trivia for Skokie starring Danny Kaye
- This would be the final appearance of Danny Kaye before motion picture cameras, and the last of only two dramatic performances. The other performance being the “Ragpicker,” in the 1969 film The Madwoman of Chaillot (1969) starring Katharine Hepburn.