Green racks his brain trying to come up with a story angle, eventually deciding to pose as a Jew. His new girlfriend, socialite Kathy Lacey Dorothy McGuireis privy to the scheme, but tensions arise when she insists on letting her concerned friends and family know her boyfriend isn't really Jewish. Green discovers prejudice everywhere, even at the office. His friend, discharged Jewish serviceman, Dave Goldman John Garfieldencounters intolerance when he searches for a job and a house for his family.
A Moral Milestone for Hollywood lawprof 7 April 20th Century Fox currently is releasing a new "Studio Classics" DVD series, each a famous film from the past packaged with often compellingly interesting special features.
Few releases are more important than 's Academy Award winning "Gentleman's Agreement," a for-the-times daring expose of anti-Semitism, a prejudice rarely if ever before that year acknowledged in film.
Hobson, an accomplished novelist, wrote the book of the same title and it sold well. Hobson unveiled the so-called "Gentleman's Agreement" whereby Jews were excluded from professions, clubs, resorts and employment and residency opportunities as well as simple social associations by a silent compact by mainly white Christians to engage in exclusionary practices.
While discrimination against blacks was mandated by unambiguous law supported by inflexible government authority, the relegation of Jews to often second-class status in the dominant Christian community was by deception, denial and deceit.
A Christian, Darryl F. Zanuck was one of the few true Hollywood moguls who wasn't Jewish. He was also intensely offended by bigotry of any kind. Hobson's novel, of no interest to Jewish producers who preferred to live in their own world which consciously often aped the society from which they were barred, was his to buy for the screen.
Elia Kazan signed on to direct and to revise the screenplay after Moss Hart finished it. Gregory Peck, already a box office idol, was chosen to play Philip Schuyler Green, a widower with a young boy played by Dean Stockwell.
John Garfield, one of the many Hollywood denizens who changed their names to avoid being typed as Jewish, is Army Corps of Engineers captain Dave Goldman.
Anne Revere, soon to lose twenty years of productive life because of the Blacklist, is Green's wise mom. June Havoc is Green's secretary, Elaine Wales, who in the film changed her name to get work, her real name being clearly Jewish.
Lastly, Albert Dekker is magazine publisher John Minify, a man determined to expose to the light of day the insidious anti-Semitism of his social and economic universe.
Unfortunately he's a bit naive about what goes down in his own shop. This is a message film, direct and uncompromising. Agreeing to write a series exposing anti-Semitism, Green struggles to find a theme while falling in love with the divorced Kathy. His brilliant concept is to pretend to be a Jew and to record how others respond to him, a clearly well-educated, socially competent man, in that guise.
His childhood buddy, Goldman, tries to warn him off but Green is determined. Stridently polemical, the movie traces the growing number of incidents where Green is slighted because of his announced religion. From a building superintendent who doesn't allow a Jewish name on a lobby mailbox to a haughty resort manager of a "restricted" facility the code word of the time for exclusion of Jews and blacksGreen gets a rapid course in the crude discrimination lurking behind most doors including the high society of his new beloved.
Green's son, told not to reveal that he and his dad aren't Jewish, runs into his own cruel rejection by classmates. Peck's Green lacks the depth of understanding of a child's vulnerability that his Atticus Finch later displays in "To Kill a Mockingbird.
Too simplistic even for this movie. Green is adamantly and unwaveringly sure of himself and woe betide any who do not share his abhorrence at any manifestation of discrimination, starting with Kathy. The romance between Green and Kathy is as back-and-forth as any Hollywood potboiler, the difference being that their arguments and falling-outs revolve entirely over Kathy's inability to grasp the absolute righteousness of her fiance's crusade.
The dispute is artificial and wearying to some degree and I rooted for Celeste Holm's lovely, witty and totally tolerant Anne, a fashion editor with attitude, as the top gal in the film.
I would have married her in a New York minute! Younger audiences today may well dismiss "A Gentleman's Agreement" as formulaic and preachy but they do not understand the nature of the tragedy, and that it was, that afflicted America at the time.
The war had been won, the Cold War was getting into high gear and Nazi criminals were on trial in various European courtrooms. The reality of the concentration camps was known to all but already many had accepted the belief that only some Germans and their allies were actual murderers.
Holocaust studies had not begun.By dispassionate critical standards, Gentleman's Agreement is not a success. It is a tract rather than a play and it has the crusader's shortcomings. Full Review.
Top Critic. Gentleman's Agreement has ratings and 73 reviews. Sarahlynn said: Have you read Gentleman's Agreement by Laura Zametkin Hobson No? Well, you should r /5. In this novel, Gentleman's Agreement, much of the anti-Semitism goes unspoken, hence the title. There seems to be a code, often unspoken.
In the novel The Victim, by Saul Bellow, the protagonist, Leventhal, is continually asking himself if there is anti-Semitic message that is being suggested. Gentleman's Agreement proves that The Lost Weekend of two years earlier wasn't an aberration -- Hollywood in the 40s, while not abandoning sheer entertainment (though often with solemn underlying themes), began exploring serious social problems in an upfront manner.
Gentleman's Agreement may be a trifle too earnest at times, but it's obvious that screenwriter Moss Hart and director Elia Kazan.
A version of this review appears in print on November 12, of the National edition with the headline: ' Gentleman's Agreement,' Study of Anti-Semitism, Is Feature at Mayfair -- Gregory Peck. Yet Gentleman’s Agreement is still a riveting movie, intriguing, a little exasperating, alternately naive and very sharp, fascinating for what it puts in and leaves out.