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The Pawnbroker 1964
9.7 of 3

The Pawnbroker

HD 7.70 116 min
Sol Nazerman manages a pawnshop in Harlem, which provides him enough money to support comfortably his sister-in-law's family on Long Island and the widow of an old colleague. He is an emotionless and direct man, which makes him effective, from an economic perspective, in negotiating with his largely desperate customers as he has no feeling about their plight. Most of his pawnshop acquaintances are unaware that his abrupt and detached demeanor is a result of what he witnessed as a Jewish concentration camp inhabitant during WWII, those incidents witnessed including the rape of his wife and the murder of his family by their Nazi captors. What happens on the streets of Harlem often reminds him of incidents at the concentration camp, he shutting off his feelings from what he now sees to survive emotionally. Before the war, he was a professor, a term which he now views with disdain. He has just hired a young man named Jesus Ortiz to work in the shop. Jesus, who has led a life of petty crime up until now, sees this job and his association with Sol, who he sees not only as a boss but a friend and mentor, as his first step in turning over a new leaf. One person who suspects what Sol has gone through is the new welfare worker in the neighborhood, Marilyn Birchfield, who has her own reasons for trying to break through his defenses. His life takes a turn when he discovers the true nature of the pawnshop owner, Rodriguez, which, although a negative in the issue itself, at least allows him to feel again for the first time since the war. The question becomes what he is going to do about it, especially in relation to Miss Birchfield and Jesus.

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