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Gentleman's Agreement [Import]
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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.
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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.Read more ›
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!
"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.
Most recent customer reviews
Today's world needs more of these historical stories to jog what has become our complacent memory. Again, Peck's performance is stellar.Published 7 months ago by Vernon Mccarthy
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... Read morePublished 15 months ago by Old Film Lover
Love this movie since the first time I saw it. The only thing I'm sad about is that even in its blu ray form it's not a 16:8 (something like that) but rather a 9:5(something like... Read morePublished 17 months ago by betrayal_09
The story was a bit predictable but so well done. It wasn't a nail biter but kept one interested without gunfire, sex, nudity or violence of any kind but still really makes one... Read morePublished on April 12 2013 by warmhearted
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. Read morePublished on Feb. 27 2003 by Nix Pix
I thought this movie was really good. I think that it really did look at almost all sides of racism. Read morePublished on Jan. 16 2003 by a woman
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