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film + conversation

LAYKA Lens is Yiddishkayt’s film + conversation series that takes place in both live and virtual spaces. We curate films that connect to the cultural heritage of Central and Eastern Europe, while also speaking to the present moment. Watch our film selection in advance, then join us for a live-streamed, unscripted conversation with some of the country’s top critics, scholars, and artists. This cultural series is curated in partnership with the Los Angeles Review of Books.
The LAYKA Lens film series is made possible in part by a grant from the City of Los Angeles Department of Cultural Affairs and supported, in part, by the Los Angeles County Board of Supervisors through the Los Angeles County Department of Arts and Culture.

The Latest Lens | May 2021

The Sea Wolf

Michael Curtiz, USA, 1941

As we continue our explorations of cinema in the shadow of authoritarianism, our next LAYKA Lens selection is Michael Curtiz’s The Sea Wolf, starring Edward G. Robinson, Ida Lupino, John Garfield, and Alexander Knox. Adapted from Jack London’s classic novel, this 1941 film centers on Wolf Larsen, the tyrannical, abusive captain of the doomed seal-hunting ship, the Ghost.

Released just months before the United States entered the Second World War, The Sea Wolf features a cast and crew deeply rooted in Yiddish and Jewish American theater and with outspoken anti-fascist stances. Edward G. Robinson made his theatrical debut in a Yiddish play directed by and starring Rudolf Schildkraut. John Garfield was trained by the famed Yiddish theater icon, Stella Adler.


Up next in our LAYKA Lens series is Michael Curtiz’s The Sea Wolf (1941). Adapted from Jack London’s classic sea adventure novel, this moody and haunting film features a cast and crew with roots in American Jewish and Yiddish theater, as well as a screenplay written by Oscar-winning and blacklisted writer Robert Rossen.

Join us, the Los Angeles Review of Books, and our esteemed panel on May 13, 2021 as we discuss this film. You can stream The Sea Wolf on on Amazon, Apple, or YouTube before we meet and then join us on our Facebook or YouTube for the live conversation.

Previous LAYKA Lens Discussions