The discovery and restoration of the long-forgotten film “Breaking Home Ties” is the latest revelatory moment in classic American Jewish cinema. The Boston-based National Center for Jewish Film (NCJF) reported this week that the 1922 silent film will be available for screening for general audiences.
The only surviving print of “Breaking Home Ties” was discovered by Center exec Sharon Pucker Rivo in 1984 in a Berlin archive, where it had lain, seemingly lost, for decades, with German intertitles and mistitled in German and Hebrew. Rivo brought the film back to the United States, where the NCJF translated and shot the film’s intertitles back into its original English, and restored the film. But, even restored and preserved, “Breaking Home Ties” was not suitable for viewing.