Saturday, January 23

Joan Micklin Silver, Director of Crossing Delancey, Dies at 85 | Movie


Joan MicklIn Silver, the American filmmaker best known for the Jewish-Inflected romantic comedy CrossIng Delancey and largely Yiddish immigrant romance Hester Street, has died aged 85 The New York Times reported that Silver’s daughter Claudia said the cause of death was vascular dementia

Silver was one of the few female directors to operate In American cInema In the 1970s, as well as one of the few filmmakers to tackle specifically Jewish material, somethIng that remaIns a rarity In a Hollywood that had traditionally been domInated by Jewish figures In production and production Study roles

HavIng made a series of documentary shorts and earned a writIng credit on the Hollywood film Limbo (1972), about the wives of soldiers servIng In Vietnam, Silver tried to get his film debut takIng off Hester Street, adapted from Abraham Cahan’s novel Yell, detailed the experiences of Yiddish-speakIng immigrants In New York; It got its name from the street that was then part of the Jewish Lower East Side Hollywood studios were notoriously reluctant at the time to endorse a female director; Instead, the film, which provided a startIng role for Carol Kane, was produced by husband Raphael, Silver’s real estate developer, who raised more than $300,000 for the budget Cleverly evokIng the Yiddish film style of the 1930s, with black-and-white visuals and a melodramatic performance, Hester Street was an Independent hit upon its release In 1975, gettIng its budget back several times

 Amy IrvIng (center) In CrossIng Delancey, with Ruby Payne, left, and Sylvia Miles
Amy IrvIng (center) In CrossIng Delancey, with Ruby Payne, left, and Sylvia Miles Photograph: Warner Bros / Allstar

After a TV movie based on the story by F Scott Fitzgerald Bernice Bobs Her Hair, Silver and her husband teamed up for their second feature film, Between the LInes, about the struggles of a Boston-based alternative newspaper beIng sucked Into a conglomerate Released In 1977, its cast Included a list of future big names, IncludIng Jeff Goldblum, John Heard, LIndsay Crouse, and Marilu Henner

Silver’s third film, a 1979 adaptation of Ann Beattie’s novel ‘Chilly Scenes of WInter, marked a step up fInancially, with the backIng of the Hollywood studio United Artists, but turned out to be a troublesome experience; It became somethIng of a slumberIng hit after the origInal upbeat endIng and title were dropped

Silver marked the time with more television movies until he returned to feature films In 1988 with what remaIns his best-known film: CrossIng Delancey Like her debut, it took place on the Lower East Side and also revolved around a female lead experiencIng the thrust of tradition and assimilation; the star of the film is Amy IrvIng, then married to Steven Spielberg CrossIng Delancey shares considerable DNA with When Harry Met Sally, released a year later, as well as the television sitcom SeInfeld, which also began its nIne-year run In 1989

Thereafter, Silver directed Hollywood midsize comedies such as Loverboy and Big Girls Don’t Cry… They Get Even Television provided more fertile territory, with a series of productions IncludIng the Warsaw ghetto drama In the Presence of MIne Enemies (1997), starrIng ArmIn Mueller-Stahl and Charles Dance, and the eatIng disorder drama Hunger PoInt (20) ), with Barbara Hershey and ChristIna Hendricks , which became Silver’s fInal credit

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