Happy Birthday Melanie Griffith!

Mia Sara and Melanie Griffith (Hollywood Pictures)

So she’s not technically a Jew. But Melanie Griffith, who turns 54 today, famously played one in the 1992 movie A Stranger Among Us, or as Variety dubbed it at the time – Vitness.

Griffith’s character is a cop who needs to infiltrate Brooklyn’s Hasidic community to find the person who murdered a jeweler, which means she has to tamp down the blonde hair and immodest clothing. (In the movies, why is it always police officers who need to infiltrate insular religious sects? For once, I’d like to see a baker try get inside a community of Jews to steal our recipe for challah or hamentaschen.)

Naturally, once fully ensconced in Borough Park, she falls for a devout Hasid and Talmudic scholar because it would be impossible to have a movie, even a cop movie, with a female lead and no possible romantic entanglements.

This movie also marks the film/television debut of James Gandolfini. He plays one of the gangsters. He’s been typecast ever since.

Here is the movie trailer in…Spanish. (Sorry. It was the best I could do.)

 

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