`The Pawnbroker' was directed in 1965 by: Sidney Lumet (12 Angry Men,1957; Serpico, 1973; Dog Day Afternoon, 1974)
The film deals with a Holocaust survivor suffering survivor's guilt after his wife and children died in the camps. He is now experiencing flash-backs to he experiences in the camps. He is clearly a man at war with himself and seeks to isolate himself from the world and people believing only in absolutes. Several people who appear to be lonely and desperate come into the store simply seeking company or help only to turned away by his now cold indifference. Essentially this is a wonderful character study of man who has given up on life believing the world to be cruel and inhumane.
Cinematography on `The Pawnbroker' was by Boris Kaufman the younger brother of Dziga Vertov (Man With A Movie Camera,1929) He had shot perhaps the finest of all poetic realist films, `L'Atalante' (1934, Jean Vigo) as well as `Zero For Conduct' (1933. Jean Vigo). In 1942 he moved to America where he made a name for himself by working with Elia Kazan on `On The Waterfront'(1954)and `Baby Doll' (1956) winning an Oscar for the former. His cinematography had a high contrast monochromatic element to it that can be clearly seen in `The Pawnbroker'. It has the same grittiness that can also be seen in the films of John Cassavettes. Music was composed by Quincy Jones which gives it a sixties Harlem flavour. The film stars the underrated Rod Steiger (On The Waterfront, 1954; In The Heat Of The Night, 1967; Fist Full Of Dynamite, 1972) in the lead role. I found the film well worth watching because it avoids a lot the sentimentality that can be seen in films of this nature.