The Plot Against Harry

4K Restoration

“Roemer’s dyspeptic comedy bares unhealed and unspoken wounds of NY Jewish life… [He] writes dialogue with an ear for offhand cruelties and fractured intimacies; his satirical vision evenhandedly distributes willful struggle and oblivious vanity. A classic of Jewish humor, albeit of a particular sort: its looming forebear is Kafka, but its existential absurdity is coated with calculatedly rancid schmaltz.”
– Richard Brody, The New Yorker

Co-Presented by the
Jewish Film Institute!

Deadpan, small-time Kosher Nostra member and ex-con Harry Plotnick (Martin Priest) is just released from prison and trying to regain his lost turf in a neighborhood turned topsy-turvy. After a chance reunion with his ex-wife and grown children, Harry is suddenly immersed in middle-class normality and goes meshugga when he gets into the catering biz with his ex-brother-in-law (Ben Lang). What follows is a world of call girls, bar mitzvahs, lingerie fashion shows, Cuban-Chinese mobsters, subway parties, Mafia barbecues, dog training classes, Congressional hearings, and hotel pajama parties. Shelved by writer/director Roemer in 1969 following a laugh-less preview, THE PLOT AGAINST HARRY emerged two decades later when he overheard a technician performing a video transfer of the film laughing hysterically.

The Plot Against Harry, completed in 1970, never received a theatrical release until 1990, screening at Cannes, New York Film Festival, Toronto and Sundance.  Now, three decades later, it returns, again, in 4K restoration.

Directed by Michael Roemer. Starring Martin Priest, Ben Lang & Maxine Woods.

“A jewel found in the grime of New York City…A Fellini-esque comedy of Jewish despair.”– A.S. Hamrah, Screen Slate

“One of the masters of American cinema.”  – Bilge Ebiri, New York Magazine

1h 21m
Michael Roemer
First Showing
November 21, 2023
  • Assisted Listening