Jack Engelhard
Jack EngelhardCourtesy

Bradley Cooper, we read, has a movie coming out about Leonard Bernstein, and it’s already making a negative splash for reasons nothing to do with music.

Cooper co-wrote, directed and stars in the role as Bernstein in the film, Maestro, but, as some have it, in the attempt to physically mirror the iconic composer/conductor to perfection, Cooper went too far by a nose. That is, he prosthetically enhanced, enlarged his nose to match, in his mind, the real Bernstein.

Some people are outraged in what they see as “Jew-Face,” and view it as a slur, a stereotype too common against Jews since the Dark Ages.

Because of that, a Special Counsel has been appointed to investigate Cooper, and meanwhile he faces four indictments on 91 charges. He could be imprisoned for 70 years.

Sorry, ignore the previous paragraph. That got in there from another column. You know how it is these days.

So anyway, there are two sides to the story. One side, as noted, accuse Cooper of being an accessory to antisemitism.

Point taken, except that Cooper meant no harm. Why would the artist sabotage his own work of art? Bernstein, as we read it, is the good guy, the hero in the script.

(Carey Mulligan as the wife is another story.)

Cooper, through that elongated nose job, was simply guilty of overreach. He did go too far, and when I saw the photo, there was nothing “Jew-Face” about it.

Instead, from certain angles, I saw Pinocchio.

That’s too bad, as it may become the legacy of this well-intended motion picture. We need something like this, a classy flick, amid all the squalor.

Cooper deserves credit for honoring a classy man, not the heckling, if we want him and others to pursue quality drama in books, theater and film.

Some big names are attached to the movie…Spielberg and Scorsese. Didn’t they see the maladroit?

Still, antisemites will always find something to gloat about. They need no help from Bradley Cooper and his clumsy attempt to be accurate.

As for me, you too I’ll bet, I never noticed Leonard Bernstein’s nose while he was conducting Mahler. Why this nose business from Cooper is a mystery.

Then there’s the other side of the argument, alleging that those who cry “antisemitism” for every single thing are like the boy who cried wolf.

Also a good point.

Not so good is the spiel, put forth by some, that only Jews should be allowed to play Jews. That’s ridiculous. (Cooper is not Jewish.)

Anyway, what Jew wants to play Shylock?

Back when Cecil B DeMille was casting for The Ten Commandments, he chose Charlton Heston because everything about Heston was perfect for the role.

Added to it was that Heston’s face near replicated Michelangelo’s Moses. If the noses weren’t exact, DeMille let it go as is.

Cooper could have learned from this.

Engelhard books
Engelhard booksJ.Engelhard

NOW AVAILABLE: The collection of Jack Engelhard’s op-eds, Writings, here

Plus, a free sample chapter of his noir gambling thriller, Compulsive, is available from his website, here.

New York-based bestselling American novelist Jack Engelhard writes regularly for Arutz Sheva.

He wrote the worldwide book-to-movie bestseller “Indecent Proposal,” the authoritative newsroom epic, “The Bathsheba Deadline,” followed by his coming-of-age classics, “The Girls of Cincinnati,” and, the Holocaust-to-Montreal memoir, “Escape from Mount Moriah.” For that and his 1960s epic “The Days of the Bitter End,” contemporaries have hailed him “The last Hemingway, a writer without peer, and the conscience of us all.” Contact here.