Movie 8min

A Bad Day For Levinsky (1909)

When a Jewish man mistakenly puts a sovereign in a slot machine, he goes to extraordinary lengths to try to retrieve it

Director T.J. Gobbett
Country United Kingdom
Language English
(Alternative) The Wrong Coin
Black and White Comedy Jew Money Police Short Silent Film Slapstick Stereotype

The earliest depictions of Jewish characters in British cinema tended to fall back on negative stereotypes. This Edwardian slapstick short employs the stock antisemitic character of the avaricious Jew: realising he put the wrong coin in a train station slot-machine, Levinsky tampers with the machine to retrieve it and is thrown out of the station by the guards. Taking the situation into his own hands, he runs through the streets carrying the cumbersome machine with the police in hot pursuit.

Source: BFI

A Jew puts a sovereign by mistake into a railway slot-machine. When the porters prevent him from breaking open the machine and eject him, he returns by stealth and runs off with it. Chased by the railway staff, he knocks various people over in his flight, and eventually arrives home where he extracts the coin just as his pursuers enter. The station-master takes the coin and a close up shows him breaking it in two with his fingers; its owner collapses (342ft). Title on film: THE WRONG COIN (previously catalogued under this title) (Shotlist)

The identity of the director is uncertain. Denis Gifford's 'The British Film Catalogue Volume 1 Fiction Film, 1895-1994' suggests that it may be T.J. Gobbett.

Source: BFI

A Jew puts a sovereign in a slot machine by mistake.

Source: Imdb

A comedy from Precision, London. One can scarcely commend this picture even though it is well acted and the mechanical work is quite satisfactory. There is too much malicious feeling expressed in the fun and one cannot but believe that this apparently holding up a certain people to scorn and making them the basis of a certain species of fun which is anything but funny and which in the opinion of many might be

Source: Moving Picture World, 1909

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T.J. Gobbett - Director
Funny although stereotypical

This is a surprisingly well-made chase film of the time, where the plot surrounds a Jew who loses his precious coin, the wrong one, into a slot machine. In order to retrieve it, he steals the machine, and thus the police begin to chase him. It could have been anyone, but because of stereotypes of the day - the producers chose a jew for the role of the man. Other than that, there is not much to it.