A magazine writer poses as a Jew to expose anti-Semitism.
A magazine writer poses as a Jew to expose anti-Semitism.
When I first moved to Toronto I ended up living in the Gay Village. I felt quite safe there to walk to and from friends' homes late at night. The neighbourhood was always bustling and it was refreshing to not get any 2nd looks and whistles. But there was one day, I recall it like it was yesterday, where I had a thought that made my heart sink. There had been a few 'gay bashings' (I hate that expression) in The Village months before I moved there, and I remember thinking that it wouldn't happen to me because all I had to say was that I wasn't gay. That stopped me in my tracks and shook me to the core.…
Elia Kazan's Best Picture-winning "Gentleman's Agreement" presents an observation of American antisemitism and a critique of those passive in its, or any racial hate's, presence. A powerful but stagy drama, the film may feel heavy-handed if removed from its post-World War II context. However, that in no way makes its searing message any less clear.
Focusing on a magazine writer assigned to draft an article series about antisemitism, the film watches as the writer claims to be Jewish in order to experience bigotry first hand. From insidious glances to outright exclusion, the writer suffers the emotional and psychological effects of hate in this compelling and still timely story.
The drama stems mostly from dialogue and low-key action, but Kazan keeps…
"I've come to see lots of nice people who hate it and deplore it and protest their own innocence, then help it along and wonder why it grows." ~ Phil Green
When widowed journalist Philip Schuyler Green (Gregory Peck) moves from California to New York City to work for Smith's Weekly, he's full of hope. It means a new start for him, his son Tommy (Dean Stockwell) and the boy's grandmother Mrs. Green (Anne Revere). However, Green gets tossed a curve when he learns his first assignment from editor John Minify (Albert Dekker) is to write a story about antisemitism from a fresh perspective.
Coming up with an angle seems to stymie Green until he recalls his friend Dave Goldman…
Performances : 7.3/10
Story : 8.4/10
Production : 7/10
Overall : 7.57/10
Sure, Gentleman's Agreement has its fair share of awkward, racially overcharged moments, but there are even more impressive moments. Powerful moments. Moments that made me seriously fucking happy that we've (for the most part) evolved out of a society like this, at least in my neck of the woods.
Gregory Peck is occasionally wonderful and occasionally just bad. I'm not sure what was going on there. Celeste Holm, on the other hand was fantastic in every scene. She stole the film, honestly. The same can't be said for Dorothy McGuire who, unfortunately, brought down most of her scenes.
On the whole it's a well paced, interesting look at…
Elia Kazan is my favorite film director, but this rigid, too-gentle message movie will never be my favorite of his, or so it seems.
Gregory Peck stars as a valued journalist who gets a better job in a New York magazine, so he moves there with his health-challenged mother and his 10-year-old son. Also, the widower gets a new girlfriend just on arrival. What he doesn't find is the right angle from which to attack the antisemitism-themed series of articles his editor has asked him to do almost before the movie had begun. Suddenly, Peck is striken by the right idea. Not a very original one, in the sense it is the same idea he had for every assignment completed…
Undoubtedly an important film, but not one I cared much for.
When Hollywood isn't promoting ethnic caricatures, they're patting themselves on the back for being so goddamn progressive. However, despite this blatant hypocrisy, this is pretty good. Partially because Elia Kazan has the directorial skill and tact necessary to make it work.
That being said, something about it still strikes me as antiquated and preachy. The concept itself is hokey and I could never quite get past it... until the third act, which finally injected quite a bit of nuance.
It definitely scores some points for going after less conspicuous but no less insidious forms of prejudice, the white-knight-ing so-called liberal magazine which has discriminatory hiring practices, or the "many of my friends are..." people.
Also, I actually found myself not…
Task #24 on Scavenger Hunt 30
A film from a director you’ve seen nothing from**
**I had to do some shuffling on my Scavenger Hunt. I had this listed as #23 but I noticed that it was directed by Elia Kazan. The same person that directed On the Waterfront and since I watched this first, I wouldn't be able to use that for #24. Luckily they both won the Best Picture Oscar, so a quick swap of position and everything is good.
Giving this a placeholder 4 stars as I need to think about this for a bit. (Loved the premise, the execution seemed a bit ham-fisted at times, but that is probably more a function of when the film…
Might be a bit too preachy but showing that silence is just as bad as outright racism is something that people could still learn from today.
A bit heavy handed sure. But anyone claiming its horribly outdated is talking out their ass and surely not Jewish themselves. Anti-Semitism is just as much of an issue today as it was in 1947.
Well intentioned but problematic.
Imagine Soul Man was a drama and won Best Picture.
Actually flawless antisemitism solution from 1947.
MVP: Gregory Peck
I think we all know Gregory Peck could get it, but what the public does not fully understand is that nobody else will ever be on his level. Bit of a dense hero, but I love it. If I'd seen this movie last year, I would have thought it was dated. How times change – or, really, how they don't.
This film has a lot of great beats that come after an hour of hammering in the message. The film then proceeds to take those good beats and murder them with an ending that is both optimistic and naive. I guess that's how it had to be in 1947. Also, the story supporting the message just isn't that compelling. I didn't really care if Peck and McGuire got together. Much of the three and a half is earned in the first part of the third act; then, it just can't help itself and goes too far.
I prefer Crossfire for the message plus interesting story plus great characters thriple threat! As for the Best Picture Oscar, maybe I'll update after I see Black Narcissus and Dark Passage.
NeverTooEarlyMP 4,761 films
Every film that has ever been nominated for an Academy Award in any category. Enjoy!