Currently Browsing: Nathan Abrams 55 articles

I teach film studies at Bangor University in north Wales where I live. I research, write and broadcast regularly (in Welsh and English) on transatlantic Jewish culture and history.
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A 300lb Behemoth: Robert Maxwell

Nathan Abrams reviews a new biography of media mogul Robert Maxwell. Press baron Robert Maxwell was larger than life. It might be a cliché but never was the expression more fitting. Born into nothing, he became a billionaire newspaper magnate, bestriding the world like a giant, gaining the ear of world leaders. He weighed some […]

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The Nazis’ British Blacklist

In advance of Holocaust Memorial Day 2021, Nathan Abrams reviews a new book about the Nazis’ British hitlist and who wasn’t on it. Around 1939, the Gestapo drew up a list. In the case of the Nazi occupation of the United Kingdom, some 2,600 named individuals were to be targeted for removal. They would have […]

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Derrida and the Jewish Question

Nathan Abrams reviews a new biography of French-Jewish philosopher Jacques Derrida. Like Marmite, the philosopher Jacques Derrida divides opinion. Where some see a genius, others perceive a charlatan and a fraud. The English philosophical tradition is particularly opposed to him. But how did this French-Algerian Jewish kid (I use the term deliberately which will become […]

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Dictatorships and Jewish Double Standards*

On Donald Trump’s last day in office, Nathan Abrams reflects on the curious relationship between Jews and so-called ‘strongmen’, the title of a new book. Jews have long kept ambivalent relationships with so-called strongmen, the subject of Ruth Ben-Ghiat’s new book. While Ben-Ghiat, a Professor of History and Italian Studies at New York University, does […]

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Is The Mandalorian a Space Jew?

Nathan Abrams wonders if Disney’s creation is a member of the tribe. ‘Is There a Jew Under the Mandalorian’s Mask?’ Charlotte Gartenberg asked in The Tablet. She wrote this as the show debuted. There is certainly a great deal of mystery to the bounty hunter at the centre of Disney’s new Star Wars derived drama […]

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Four Jewish John le Carré Adaptations

To mark the passing of John le Carré, who died on 12 December, Nathan Abrams recommends four Jewish adaptations of his work.    The Spy Who Came in from the Cold (1963)  This was the first film adaptation of any le Carré novel. It was directed by Martin Ritt, who was Jewish. Oskar Werner plays the ‘brilliant and principled’ East German Jewish spy Fiedler. The name of the principal female character in the novel, the innocent […]

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Mank the Mensch

Nathan Abrams offers another view on David Fincher’s latest movie that reveals the hidden Jewishness behind the film. Orson Welles’ Citizen Kane (1941) is widely regarded as a classic, if not the best movie ever made. It’s routinely taught at universities; indeed, I have taught it many times. Rarely, though, until now, has it been […]

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Six films that would have Roald Dahl turning in his grave

Nathan Abrams revisits those ‘Jewish’ adaptations of the famous author’s works. Roald Dahl has been much in the news this week following the revelation of his family’s apology for his antisemitic comments. ‘There is a trait in the Jewish character that does provoke animosity, maybe it’s a kind of lack of generosity towards non-Jews. I […]

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Spartacus: A Jewish Epic

Nathan Abrams explores the Jewishness of a landmark film on its sixtieth anniversary. Conceived by Kirk Douglas and executed by Stanley Kubrick, the Roman epic Spartacus is still considered one of the best examples of its genre. It has left an indelible mark on our popular culture and has been much mimicked as well as parodied. […]

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Ten Reasons Why ‘Shrek’ Is Jewish

Nathan Abrams provides ten reasons why Shrek is Jewish. Every year, the Library of Congress’s National Film Registry chooses 25 films of historical, cultural, or aesthetic significance to be marked for preservation. Among this year’s inductees is Shrek (2001). The Registry commended the film thus: Even by DreamWorks standards, the charm and magic of ‘Shrek’ […]

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