The Angel Levine

Release Date:  July 28, 1970
Genre:  Drama
Rating:   PG-13
Running Time:  106 minutes
Director:  Ján Kadár
Studio(s):  Belafonte Enterprises, United Artists

Cast:  Harry Belafonte (Alexander Levine), Zero Mostel (Morris Mishkin), Gloria Foster (Sally), Ida Kaminska (Fanny Mishkin), Milo O’Shea (Dr. Arnold Berg).

Story:  Morris Mishkin, an impoverished Jewish tailor, is beset by difficulties: a backache prevents him from working; his wife, Fanny, is suffering from heart disease; and his daughter has run away with an Italian. Reduced to his last few dollars because of delays in the welfare system, Morris goes to the grocery store for a few meager provisions. On the way, he sees a black man steal a fur coat and yells for the police, but the thief dashes across the street and is killed when he is hit by a car. Morris returns home to find Fanny’s condition worse, and he castigates God for his continued suffering. He then walks into the kitchen and sees the black thief, who claims to be a Jewish angel named Alexander Levine. Levine explains that he must perform a miracle within 24 hours in order to be confirmed as an angel, but Morris is skeptical. Despite an immediate improvement in Fanny’s health, Morris refuses to attribute the miracle to God’s mercy. Eventually Levine’s 24 hours expire, and he leaves the tailor, who still disbelieves. Fanny soon becomes worse, and Morris, now ready to believe in Levine, searches for him in the streets of Harlem, but all he finds is a black feather in a synagogue.

Notes:  Based on a story by Pulitzer Prize-winning novelist Bernard Malamud.  It was brought to the screen by the late actor-singer-activist Harry Belafonte, who produced the film as his return to movies after more than ten years (his previous film had been Odds Against Tomorrow released in 1959).  Source:; Photo Sources:  IMDB;;