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My Father's House

My Father's House(1947)

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According to the New York Times review, the film began with a foreword stating that the story was intended to explore "the people of Palestine and not its politics." Filmed over six months following World War II, My Father's House was the first narrative feature film to be shot entirely in Palestine, and one of the few films produced there before the establishment of the state of Israel. Producer Herbert Kline was a documentary filmmaker, and producer Meyer Levin was a novelist and screenwriter. Kline and Meyer, who were both Americans, contributed some funding to the $250,000 film, which was also financed and distributed by The Jewish National Fund.
       Although most of the film's post-production work occurred in America, the picture was shot entirely in Palestine, including Haifa, Tel Aviv, Jerusalem, Galilee, St. George's Cathedral, the Dead Sea, Hebrew University and the Hadassah Hospital. In an October 1947 Theatre Arts article, Levin wrote about the difficult shooting conditions in Palestine. With no film labs in the country, the producers attempted to develop the film in Egyptian labs, but the footage was then confiscated by Cairo officials. Kline was then forced to develop the film in Hollywood and forgo viewing the dailies. Kline spoke no Hebrew and many of the Palestinian actors, most of them non-professionals, could not speak English. Although an April 1948 Los Angeles Times article states that the actors were taught their lines in English by rote, other sources state that the film was dubbed into English later. Threats of violence and demonstrations by the Arab League slowed production, and limited the cast and crew to Jewish participants only. In addition, the controlling British government insisted on approving the script, which forced Meyer to temporarily omit the scene showing illegal immigrants gaining entrance to the country.
       Actor Issac (Yitzhak) Danziger, who played "Avram" in the film, was also known for his prize-winning sculpture. While a contemporary article noted that Henry Brant based his original music on native folk tunes, and the Hollywood Reporter review added that "The Palestine Folk Symphony is heard being performed by the Palestine Philharmonic Orchestra," it has not been determined if the symphony is one of the folk tunes on which Brant based his score.
       The Variety review reported that American distribution for the film had not yet been set and would probably be accomplished through spot bookings arranged through The Jewish National Fund. After the film's release, Levin wrote a novel based on the film, which Viking published in 1947 under the same title. Although an unidentified and undated news item announced that in 1970, Paramount's television division had purchased the rights to the novel, no further information about a television adaptation has been found.