Gentleman's Agreement Reviews
It slowly delivers the message and will often derail from it, but the message is still strong and the acting is great.
(Full review TBD)
This film plays at times like a fancy classroom skit for a college Psychology class after which students discuss what they saw. But then this was the conservative right-wingnut era of McCarthyism ... It's interesting, too, that the Jewry of the day wasn't interested in pursuing this issue in the movies. In fact, they tried to discourage the Protestant Zanuck.
As for the story: Here was an outstanding opportunity not to have the formula ending, especially with the Celeste Holm character emerging interestingly late in the narrative. The End, really, doesn't work after what's gone-on before. Those kinds of love interest differences & conflicts are not so easily resolved.
Worth seeing; but a really peculiar, nearly preachy, entertainment ... then & now.
A great examination of bigotry and prejudice. The topic feels clumsy, initially, as it seems less relevant now and it is hard to believe that anti-Semitism was ever an issue to the extent portrayed in the movie. However, unfortunately, the background is quite accurate in displaying attitudes and issues in the US in the late-1940s, so the movie was very relevant at the time. Moreover, while the exact issue is not overly relevant today, it can be used as a metaphor for any prejudice or bigotry.
With the initial feeling of clumsiness gone, the movie takes on a whole new life and profundity and degree of engagement. Director Elia Kazan weaves the examples of prejudice into the plot quite seamlessly, without making you feel like he is overdoing it or you are being preached to.
Excellent work by Gregory Peck in the lead role. This feeling is helped if you've already seen him in To Kill A Mockingbird, another movie of his that deals with bigotry and prejudice. Peck got a Best Actor Oscar nomination for his efforts.
Good work too from Dorothy McGuire (as Kathy Lacy), Celeste Holm (as Anne Dettrey) and Anne Revere as Mrs. Green. Holm won a Best Supporting Actress Oscar nomination while McGuire got a Best Actress nomination and Revere a Best Supporting Actress nomination.
The film itself won the 1948 Best Picture Oscar. Elia Kazan won his first Oscar (was also his first nomination). In the next 16 years he would garner one more win (for On The Waterfront) and five other nominations.
Location scenes Fifth Avenue, FRD Drive and East River, Darien CT station.