A magical movie mashup — in mammeloshen
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A magical movie mashup — in mammeloshen

YidLife Crisis creators delight by dubbing iconic dialogue into Yiddish

Renee Ghert-Zand is a reporter and feature writer for The Times of Israel.

Scene with Robert De Niro in 'Taxi Driver' from YidLife Crisis' 'Hollywood's Greatest Movie Moments (In Yiddish)' video (YouTube)
Scene with Robert De Niro in 'Taxi Driver' from YidLife Crisis' 'Hollywood's Greatest Movie Moments (In Yiddish)' video (YouTube)

If you’ve seen the famous photo by Phil Stern of Marlon Brando “reading” the Yiddish Foverts, but always wondered what he’d sound like speaking mammaloshen, well now you can.

Put together and dubbed by the creators of YidLife Crisis Eli Batalion and Jamie Elman, a new YouTube video is a fun mashup of classic clips from films spanning the decades from the 1930s to more recent years.

The video opens with a famous scene from “The Lord of the Rings—The Fellowship of the Ring.” But we know something is up as soon as Gandalf (played by actor Ian McKellen) dramatically exclaims “Du ken nisht farbeien!” (instead of “You shall not pass!”).

Viewers are quickly informed that we are about to see “Hollywood’s Greatest Movie Moments”… in Yiddish.

Using their acting talent, Batalion and Elman expertly dub lines spoken by iconic characters — from the gay “Brokeback Mountain” cowboys to Dorothy in “The Wizard of Oz” to Al Pacino’s Tony Montana in “Scarface.”

While it’s surprising to hear Yiddish spoken in these movies and others, there is one scene where Yiddish is not completely out of character: when, in “When Harry Meets Sally,” the woman at the next table at Katz’s Deli (played by director Rob Reiner’s real-life mother Estelle Reiner) says, “I’ll have what she’s having,” after Meg Ryan loudly fakes an orgasm.

“Ich nem vos zi hot genemen” sounds very natural around so much pastrami — as does Ryan’s Yiddish-inflected climactic moaning.

YidLife Crisis creators Eli Batalion (left) and Jamie Elman (Darren Curtis)
YidLife Crisis creators Eli Batalion (left) and Jamie Elman (Darren Curtis)

The YidLife Crisis duo are especially good at adjusting their Yiddish accents to match the voices and accents of the actors in various movies. Somehow, they manage to make their Yiddish sound almost Scottish for Mel Gibson’s lines in “Braveheart” and perfectly imitate Jack Nicholson when he yells “You can’t handle the truth!” (in Yiddish) at Tom Cruise in “A Few Good Men.”

And the Dude in “The Big Lebowski” abiding in Yiddish? Totally believable.

The entire video is a total fargeniegen (pleasure), but our absolute favorite scene is Robert De Niro’s “You talkin’ to me?” in “Taxi Driver.”

“Du redst mit mir? Du redst mit mir?”

In that classic moment we can almost believe Travis Bickle was a born Yiddish speaker.

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