Awake and Sing!

Walter Matthau heads the cast of this television recreation of Clifford Odets' 1935 hit Broadway play, the first full-length work performed on the commercial stage by the legendary Group Theatre. This portrait of a Jewish family in a Bronx tenement perfectly captures the spirit of the Depression years, and is suffused with details of character and place that combine to be affecting even now. The Bergers, burdened by financial difficulties, have taken in a border?Moe Axelrod (Matthau)?who lost a leg in World War I. Cynical and outspoken, Moe adds a spark to the somewhat accepting lives of the Bergers. The family fights to survive on sixteen dollars a week while the intellectual, Marxist-leaning grandfather (brilliantly played by famed Yiddish theatre star, Leo Fuchs) tries futilely to spur his family to action with the injunction, "Awake and sing, ye that dwell in the dust ." (Isaiah 26:19)

"A fine, ferocious production...wondrous theatrical intensity and drive. Impressive performances to treasure...it is impossible to conceive the parts better played." - The Los Angeles Times

1972, Drama, 120 minutes, Color

Cast: Walter Matthau, Ruth Storey, Leo Fuchs, Robert Lipton, Felicia Farr, Martin Ritt, Milton Selzer, Ron Rifkin, John Myhers


Written by: Clifford Odets

Directed by: Norman Lloyd


Produced by: Norman Lloyd

Executive Producer: Lewis Freedman


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