NEW 4K RESTORATION – 55th Anniversary Screening

Q&A with Brandeis University Professor Thomas Doherty

Don’t miss this rare screening of one of cinema’s least known, singular showstoppers. Revealing too much of the plot of Michael Roemer’s 1969’s The Plot Against Harry would spoil all the fun, satire, and surprises.  All you need to know is that after a nine-month stint in prison, Harry Plotnick (Martin Priest), a New York racketeer, tries to regain his lost turf in a neighborhood much changed since he went inside. Harry’s life is complicated exponentially when he runs into his estranged ex-wife, grown children and ex-brother-in-law. What follows is a verité but slightly surreal world of Mafia barbecues, Kosher catering, call girls, bar mitzvahs, lingerie fashion shows, Cuban-Chinese mobsters, subway parties, and much more.

In 1969, writer-director Michael Roemer failed to find distribution for the film and it languished unseen until two decades later when Roemer overheard a technician laughing hysterically while making a video transfer of the film. Finally released in 1990, the film garnered critical acclaim and cult status.

A high-water mark of American cinema. A jewel found in the grime of New York City.” – A.S. Hamrah, Screen Slate

“One of the great unsung masters of American cinema.” – Bilge Ebiri, New York Magazine

“Neglected masterpiece…should have become an instant classic—of American Jewish cinema, of gangster movies, of film comedy, and of bold creativity on a low budget… An incisive portrayal of an era and its byways that also propounds a compelling world view.” – Richard Brody, The New Yorker

“Gives rampant ethnic nuttiness a distinctively wistful vulgarity… At once gritty and ethereal… Although The Plot Against Harry has been compared to John Cassavetes’s work, the director’s sensibility is far closer to Elaine May’s. Roemer’s satire of the Jewish urban middle class has its corollary in May’s The Heartbreak Kid.” – J. Hoberman, Premiere

“An ode to urban Jewish life and the joy and pain in the ass that is family. Robert Young, an experienced documentary cinematographer, gives the film a vérité feel, capturing the noisy, vernacular comedy in all its exuberant specificity. In moments, he lends the circus surrounding its protagonist a Fellini-esque grace.” – Chris Shields, Screen Slate

Director: Michael Roemer | USA | 1969 | 88 min | English

Watch The Trailer

Wednesday, May 15, 7:00 pm
Coolidge Corner Theatre