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Gentleman's Agreement

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Gentleman's Agreement + The Man In The Gray Flannel Suit (Bilingual) + The Keys of the Kingdom (Les clés du royaume)
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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 (16 customer reviews)
  • ASIN: B00000K3CT
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: #63,636 in DVD (See Top 100 in DVD)

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

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4.1 out of 5 stars
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Most helpful customer reviews

3 of 3 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 Verified Purchase
The Fox DVD of Gentleman's Agreement, which at the time of this review is on at a bargain price, is a good package -- the 1947 Oscar Winner for Best Picture, Best Director, and Best Supporting Actress, with a commentary and other special features. It is a shame that this edition is cursed with poor sound.

The dialogue of the characters is often so softly spoken that one misses important things unless one is constantly turning up the volume. Normally I set my volume at about 8; for this film I had to crank it up to about 27 most of the time. I don't think this is just my copy. I have the impression that the problem lies in the print of the film from which the DVD was derived. But I would welcome comments from others with the Fox DVD -- is their sound also so weak?

This problem hampers the enjoyment of the film, because some of the most important dialogue, delivered by Dorothy McGuire, cannot be easily heard, and one has to rewind and replay crucial bits at higher volume.

The commentary by Richard Schickel is the usual for him -- mediocre. He never sounds at all like a film expert, but simply like your next-door neighbour giving his opinion of the film, and he never seems to have rehearsed his commentary, but instead rambles. He also rarely supplies the tiny bits of factual data which make film commentaries so useful. You don't learn from him very often who that character actor playing the bit part is, for example. Still, on this particular commentary, he is more incisive than usual, amidst the rambling, and some of his criticism of the film is just. He should get a 7 out of 10 for his efforts.
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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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