"Obadiah recreates his success in Israel: Footage taken from the set of "Ariana

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This bite-sized story taken from the Carmel Reels which, as was customary in these newsreels, mixes dry highbrow language with an upbeat montage and flickers of expressive cinematography bolstered by the black and white footage, is a veritable slice of history. This most likely is the first ever public mentioning of George Obadiah in Israel, captured on film. Shot and released in 1971, the film Ariana was produced by Michael Shvili who, until that time, had specialised in film distribution. In this instance, his name precedes that of the otherwise unknown director behind this sensationalist courtroom drama that had hundreds of thousands flock to cinemas by the droves. Ariana was in fact a remake of an Iranian film Obadiah had produced in Iran a few years prior to. The result was just about identical. Highlights of the cast include then-newcomer, actor Dassi Hadari; military troupe alum Avi Toledano who at the time was a prominent music festival star; Arieh Elias, who was already a household name amongst film lovers; and seasoned stage actors Yitzhak Shiloh and Abraham Ronai, the latter of whom would remain permanently typecast as the greedy, smarmy European-Ashkenazi Jew in Obadiah’s subsequent films. The interior scene featured here is set in Mr. Danieli’s lounge, played by Ronai.

Courtesy of United Studios of Israel; From Carmel-Herzliya Reel no. 585, 1971

Ariana is available for online streaming on the Israel Film Archive website. Click to watch.


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