The Yellow Ticket, a forgotten gem of the 1918 silent film era is resurrected at 8pm on Saturday (November 16) at MASS MoCA’s Club B-10 in North Adams, with a new score composed and performed by the Klezmatics’ co-founder Alicia Svigals. The movie features a larger-than-life performance by the great Polish silent film star, Pola Negri, was the first film to explore anti-Semitism in imperial Russia, and Svigals’ score breathes new life into this classic. A play by the same name was produced in 1914 on Broadway; it starred John Barrymore and Florence Reed. The stage version played between January and June 1914.
The Yellow Ticket is a story of secret identities, heroic measures, and triumphant love – a testament to struggle and overcoming adversity. Directed by Vicor Janson and Eugen Illes, the film follows Anna Mirrel (Negri), a young Jewish girl in Czarist Russia. Anna, believing her father is ill, must present herself as a prostitute – the only women allowed to travel freely outside the ghetto – to obtain a yellow travel ticket to reach her father. When she arrives in St. Petersburg, she finds her father has been killed. She encounters a young journalist and tells him of the crimes the state perpetrates against its citizens. But the pair fall into the hands of the secret police when the journalist publishes her remarks. In order to obtain their freedom, Anna must choose whether to submit to the desires of the sinister head of the police, Baron Andrey.