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Posts Tagged ‘john mccarten’

26. Gentleman’s Agreement (1947)

Other Nominated Films:
The Bishop’s Wife, Crossfire, Great Expectations, Miracle on 34th Street

Elia Kazan really has a knack for directing some pretty amazing films. He’s directed classics such as A Streetcar Named Desire, On the Waterfront, East of Eden, and America, America. But the first film to win him Best Director and Best Picture was Gentleman’s Agreement. And this didn’t come without controversy. Given the film’s overtly anti-semetic themes, some Hollywood Execs (many Jewish) were concerned about potential backlash. Some Execs even tried to convince producer Darryl F. Zanuck not to make the film. But Kazan and Zanuck forged ahead with this socially significant film anyway. And, as it turned out, the ‘Jewish-friendly’ (liberal) themed film did, in fact, grab the suspicious attention of the House Un-American Activities Committee.  As a result, Kazan, Zanuck, John Garfield and Anne Revere were called to testify before the committee.   Now, putting aside what was happening off-screen…The film’s plot revolves around the character, Philip Green (Gregory Peck), a journalist that goes undercover as a Jew to conduct research for an article he is writing about anti-semetism.   Green encounters explicit prejudice along the way including professional bias and personal relationship issues, as well as name-calling, discrimination by hotels, etc. Gentleman’s Agreement is a great film that would pave the way for future filmmakers. Kazan took a huge risk in directing a movie of such sensitive nature, and in taking that risk, he created one of the most important films of all time.

Nominated for 8 Oscars, Winner of 3
Best Actress in a Supporting Role – Celeste Holm (WON)
Best Director – Elia Kazan (WON)
Best Picture – 20th Century Fox (WON)
Best Actor in a Leading Role – Gregory Peck
Best Actress in a Leading Role – Dorothy McGuire
Best Actress in a Supporting Role – Anne Revere
Best Film Editig – Harmon Jones
Best Writing, Screenplay – Moss Hart

Mrs. Green: You know something, Phil? I suddenly want to live to be very old. Very. I want to be around to see what happens. The world is stirring in very strange ways. Maybe this is the century for it. Maybe that’s why it’s so troubled. Other centuries had their driving forces. What will ours have been when men look back? Maybe it won’t be the American century after all… or the Russian century or the atomic century. Wouldn’t it be wonderful… if it turned out to be everybody’s century… when people all over the world – free people – found a way to live together? I’d like to be around to see some of that… even the beginning. I may stick around for quite a while.

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