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Gentleman's Agreement [Import]

4 out of 5 stars 18 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, Import
  • 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: 4.0 out of 5 stars 18 customer reviews
  • ASIN: B00000K3CT
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Product Description

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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

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Top Customer Reviews

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
I'm a big fan of Gregory Peck and as usual, he did a good job in this film.

Unfortunately, the story itself seems dated watching it now, with rather "cheesy" dialogue especially in the scenes with Gregory Peck and Dorothy McGuire. I did enjoy Celeste Holms though, she played her part beautifully and believably.

The sound was poor on this film, went from soft to very loud several times, picture quality was excellent.

***SPOILER: I thought the ending was surprising and in a bad way.

What Celeste's character says previously about the "Cathy's" of the world was true. Why would Greg Peck go running back to a woman who had shown her lack of real backbone re: prejudice, again and again. The token gesture to make things "right" that she made at the end of the film seemed so shallow and almost worthless. Forgive her perhaps, but want to marry her? I think not.
Gregory should have been running back to Celeste!!! That was a woman of passion and conviction and much more in line with the kind of person he was. That did not ring true at all for me, given the nature of the overall story and Gregory Peck's character.

I'm surprised this won several Academy Awards but I guess at the time, it was considered a ground-breaking film. Celeste Holms did deserve her Oscar though, she was wonderful!
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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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