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Gentleman's Agreement

17 customer reviews

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Product Details

  • Actors: Gregory Peck, Dorothy McGuire, John Garfield, Celeste Holm, Anne Revere
  • Directors: Elia Kazan
  • Writers: Elia Kazan, Laura Z. Hobson, Moss Hart
  • Producers: Darryl F. Zanuck
  • Format: NTSC
  • Language: English, French
  • Subtitles: English, Spanish
  • Aspect Ratio: 1.33:1
  • Number of discs: 1
  • MPAA Rating: UNRATED
  • Studio: 20th Century Fox
  • Release Date: Oct. 5 1999
  • Run Time: 118 minutes
  • Average Customer Review: 4.1 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (17 customer reviews)
  • ASIN: B00000K3CT
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: #41,228 in DVD (See Top 100 in DVD)
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Product Description

Elia Kazan directed this sometimes powerful study of anti-Semitism in nicer circles, based on Laura Z. Hobson's post-World War II novel. Gregory Peck is a hotshot magazine writer who has been blind to the problem; to ferret it out, he passes himself off as Jewish and watches the WASPs squirm. Seen a half-century later, the attitudes seem quaint and dated: Could it really have been like this? Yet the truth of the story comes through, in the wounded dignity of John Garfield, the upright indignation of Peck, and the hidden ways bigotry and hatred can poison relationships. That's particularly true in the Oscar-winning performance of Celeste Holm, who finds more layers than you'd expect in what seems like a stock character. --Marshall Fine --This text refers to an alternate DVD edition.

Customer Reviews

4.1 out of 5 stars
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4 of 4 people found the following review helpful By DBW on April 8 2004
Format: DVD
Kudos to Fox Home Entertainment for a very satisfying DVD presentation of "Gentleman's Agreement," the 1947 Best Picture Academy Award winner. The film itself is deserving of all of the accolades it received, both upon its initial release, and in all the years since.
I'm assuming that most of the people considering a purchase of the DVD have already seen the movie, so I'd like to focus here on the incisive commentary by Richard Schickel, long-time film critic for Time magazine. Stars June Havoc and Celeste Holm are also heard on the track, recorded separately, and while their remarks are interesting, this is Schickel's showcase, and he runs with it.

As it happened, I wound up listening to this commentary over the course of three nights. This kind of gradual exposure allowed me to really absorb Schickel's observations.
The critic is no sycophantic fan of "Gentleman's Agreement." While he admires its aims, and much of its execution (primarily the achievements of director Elia Kazan), he has some reservations about the script, and some of the acting.
He demonstrates a complete understanding of the conventions of 1940s studio filmmaking, but doesn't always accept the necessity that "Gentleman's Agreement" had to adhere to those norms. I didn't always agree with Schickel's criticisms of the film, but they certainly made me think, and I never found them off-putting.
Schickel wisely underscores the contribution of John Garfield, whose training in The Group Theater gave him a more realistic acting style than anyone else in the film. "Garfield seems to be acting in an entirely different movie," Schickel says, and it is not a criticism.
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Format: DVD
Winning the best picture Oscar for 1947 comes the story of a journalist who poses as a jewish man for six months to find out how deep anti-semitism runs in New York City. When the film came out, it was considered controversial. I say more power to the film and was glad it was made. However, keep in mind the film is over 55 years old and while the issue of racism is valid even today in some parts of the country, it comes across as somewhat outdated. The saving grace is the script. It manages to inform without pontificating and really hits on a surprising amount of aspects. Example of a great exchange:
"Why, some of my best friends are jewish"
"And some of your best friends are methodist also. But you don't make a point of saying that, do you?"
The romance between the two leads is strained and the chemistry works better when thay are odds with each other. This is the first time I've seen a movie with Dorothy McGuire and while I'm sure she is good in other films, she comes acroos as wooden here. Particularly in contrast to Celeste Holm, who eats up the screen.
I also liked the back story behind the movie. There is an interesting AMC featurette included on the special edition. It very informative and the story of what happened to actor John Garfield is tragic. While this film does not resonate as a "classic" it is a very enjoyable, watchable film. Those collecting Oscar pics or who want a relativley tame film (by todays standards) about the aspects of racism could do worse.
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Format: DVD
Elia Kazan's 1947 film Gentleman's Agreement is the story of a journalist who is employed to write a series of articles on the scourge of anti-Semitism in America. The journalist, Phil Green, is played by Gregory Peck and in order to get his information first hand, he poses as Jew. He encounters all forms of prejudice and his blooming romance with the niece of his publisher takes a hit. Kathy (Dorothy McGuire) insists that she harbors no ant-Semitic feelings finds that through her association with Green, that such prejudices bubble underneath the surface. John Garfield gives a standout performance as Green's lifelong friend, Dave Goldman, who has experience prejudice his whole life and has learned to be philosophical about man's failings, but still is willing to fight against blind ignorance as noted in a gripping scene where he is denied a room in a swanky hotel by an unbearable snooty desk clerk who refuses to admit the reason he won't give Dave a room is that he is Jewish even though it is obviously apparent that is the reason why. Celeste Holm won the Best Supporting Actress award for her role as a fashion writer and socialite who is attracted to Green and heavily pursues him. The film was ground-breaking at the time of its release as it was the first Hollywood movie to tackle anti-Semitism head-on. Prior to World War II, it was an unspoken rule that anti-Semitism could only be hinted at even if a film like The Life of Emile Zola was about it. But over the years, the film has lost a lot of its power and it isn't aided by the fact that many of the characters are stock profiles that exude a one-dimensional feel. Despite that fact, it still is an important film and one that can still teach a lesson as well as entertain. Mr. Kazan won the first of his two Best Directing Oscars and the film won Best Picture in 1947.
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Format: DVD
In "Gentleman's Agreement" Gregory Peck stars as Philip Green/Greenberg, a reporter impersonating a Jew in order to gain first hand knowledge into anti-Semitism. At first, snubs seem quite subtle and harmless. But as the film progresses the seething underbelly of dissension against the Jewish faith begins to rear its ugly head. Dorothy McGuire costars as Kathy, his waspish girlfriend who struggles with her own built-in anti-Semitism. John Garfield offers a startling and poignant cameo as Dave Goldberg, while Celeste Holm turns in another fine performance as Anne Dettrey, the only cast member seemingly untouched by prejudice. The film also costars Anne Revere, as Philip's mother, and Dean Stockwell as his son. Despite excellent source material from the novel by Laura Z. Hobson, and the directorial reigns handed over to one of Hollywood's best, Eli Kazan, the resulting film is heavy-handed and tiresome in spots. The plot never quite surpasses its very theatrical staging and the performances, particularly McGuire's are stiff and uninspiring.
Fox already released this title as a movie only disc, without the making-of featurette. Now, as part of its Studio Series "Gentlemen's Agreement" continues to suffer from digital anomalies which plagued the original transfer. However, whereas the old transfer seemed to falter during the latter half with excessive film grain and shimmering of fine details, it is the first hour or so of this re-release that is riddled with edge effects, aliasing, pixelization and digital grit. As far as extras are concerned, this DVD offers little more than a brief back story featurette, audio commentary and theatrical trailer.
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