Mendel Singer Goes to Hollywood. On the Lost 1936 Film Adaptation of Joseph Roth’s Novel 'Hiob'

Francesco Burzacca


In 1936, the major Hollywood studio 20th Century-Fox released Sins of Man, the first-ever film adaptation of Joseph Roth’s international bestselling novel Hiob (1930). The movie quickly disappeared from film theaters, and has often been wrongly considered lost by Roth scholars.
This essay traces the vicissitudes behind the production of Sins of Man, and examines its short-lived reception, both in America and among Roth’s circle of friends and German expatriate intellectuals. Additionally, thanks to an unprecedented opportunity to attend a research screening at the University of California Film & Television Archive in Los Angeles, the custodians of a surviving copy of the film, the essay offers a critical analysis of Sins of Man that sheds light on recurrent misunderstandings regarding the film, and opens up discussion for new critical perspectives and interpretations.

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ISSN: 0039-2952