Pinky (1949)



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Movie Info

Elia Kazan directed this, one of Hollywood's early attacks on racism, starring Jeanne Crain as Patricia "Pinky" Johnson. Patricia is a light-skinned black woman who is studying nursing at a New England medical institute. A white doctor, Thomas Adams (William Lundigan), has fallen in love with Patricia and wants to marry her, but Patricia refuses his proposal. Convinced their interracial union would never work out, Patricia believes Thomas would never be able to endure the acrimony that would be heaped upon their marriage. Patricia leaves New England to return to her childhood home in the South, where her grandmother (Ethel Waters) works for rich widow Miss Em (Ethel Barrymore). When Miss Em takes ill, Patricia cares for her. Upon Miss Em's death, it is discovered that she has bequeathed her entire estate to Patricia. Miss Em's family disputes the will because Patricia is black, and a courtroom battle ensues over the estate.

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Jeanne Crain
as Patricia "Pinky" Johnson
Ethel Waters
as Granny Dysey Johnson
William Lundigan
as Dr. Thomas Adams
Basil Ruysdael
as Judge Walker
Kenny Washington
as Dr. Canady
Griff Barnett
as Dr. Joe McGill
Frederick O'Neal
as Jake Walters
Evelyn Varden
as Melba Wooley
Raymond Greenleaf
as Judge Shoreham
Dan Riss
as Stanley
Arthur Hunnicutt
as Police Captain
Robert Osterloh
as Police Officer
Jean Innes
as Saleslady
Jean Inness
as Saleslady
Everett Glass
as Mr. Wooley
Renee Beard
as Teejore
William Hansen
as Mr. Goolby
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Critic Reviews for Pinky

All Critics (9) | Top Critics (2)

Vivid, revealing and emotionally intense.

Mar 25, 2006 | Rating: 4/5 | Full Review…

The results are uneven, though fitfully interesting.

Jan 1, 2000 | Full Review…

Kazan's liberal tale of a black girl passing as white is rather simple and Jeanne Crain is weak in the lead, but it's worth seeing Zanuck's message picture for the strong acting of the two Oscar-nominated Ethels (Waters and Barrymore).

Apr 11, 2009 | Rating: B- | Full Review…

This is a groundbreaking film despite its absurdly stiff way at looking at how blacks and whites interact.

Dec 28, 2007 | Rating: C+ | Full Review…

This is a mature film, with great respect for the humanity of people who are able to transcend social barriers and care for one another.

Nov 1, 2007 | Rating: 4/4 | Full Review…

Pinky is nothing more than 1949's Crash: a film that doesn't deal with race so much as it pays lip service to race while being racist in ways likely unexamined by all involved.

May 18, 2006 | Rating: 1/4 | Full Review…

Audience Reviews for Pinky

An early and slightly dated look at racism. It was probably great for its time and kudos to the maligned Kazan for bringing it forward. Don't expect too much and you will enjoy it.

John Ballantine
John Ballantine

Super Reviewer

Sad to see a white actor play the part of a light skin black women, But excellent story line showing life in the United States, most people think it was limited to the south which it was not. A movie that will never be seen on TV today and should be watched by all. Any film lover should enjoy this. 4 stars

Bruce Bruce
Bruce Bruce

Super Reviewer

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