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GENTLEMAN'S AGREEMENT 8 pm Eastern, 5-18-14


FredCDobbs
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I've never seen GENTLEMAN'S AGREEMENT and will try to catch it tonight. My understanding is that it is not nearly as hard-hitting as CROSSFIRE (made the same year and similar subject matter). CROSSFIRE is a great movie and it should be interesting to compare the two.

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I see now that this film is very dated. Such as with the line "I Was Jewish for 6 Months!"

 

That sounds a little silly today.

I agree. This film does not hold up very well.  Kazan never liked the love story forced on him by Zanuck-- which if you think about it, if Zanuck was trying to do something more serious-minded, why sugar-coat it with the romance of Peck and McGuire's characters (it gets in the way of the real story).  

 

I think CROSSFIRE, which explores the subject matter in a film noir, is much better.  And actually, CROSSFIRE was supposed to be about a gay military officer, but they had to change it to a Jewish officer, because a story about a gay man would not get past the censors.

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I find it interesting as a history lesson, giving us a rare glimpse of the 1940s that we don't usually see or hear.

We can say that about ALL films produced in the 1940s-- that they ALL give us a glimpse into history at that time.  Even motion pictures that do not attempt to aim as high as this one does, are still teaching us something about the time in which they were made.

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why sugar-coat it with the romance of Peck and McGuire's characters (it gets in the way of the real story).  

 

I think it is because she wants her sister and her sister's friends to know he is NOT Jewish, because if he IS Jewish, that would "mess up" some kind of party her sister is throwing. So, McGuire and her sister seem to be prejudiced, according to him, which is exactly what he is trying to find out about what other people think of him as a Jew.

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I think it is because she wants her sister and her sister's friends to know he is NOT Jewish, because if he IS Jewish, that would "mess up" some kind of party her sister is throwing. So, McGuire and her sister seem to be prejudiced, according to him, which is exactly what he is trying to find out about what other people think of him as a Jew.

It's rather contrived.  I don't think a romance drama is the best genre for this type of message.  It works better in a film noir, where you can see the violence that comes when hate crimes are committed. 

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Well, now that I've seen GENTLEMAN'S AGREEMENT I can say for certain that CROSSFIRE was better and more intense. I imagine the Academy Award voters went with the "safer" pick that still had social relevance (sort of like picking CRASH over BROKEBACK MOUNTAIN, maybe?). Yeah, TopBilled is right in that CROSSFIRE was based on Richard Brooks' THE BRICK FOXHOLE and they changed it. Overall, GK was OK and I did like Celeste Holm (Peck's character should have ended up with her) and John Garfield.

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I agree. This film does not hold up very well.  Kazan never liked the love story forced on him by Zanuck-- which if you think about it, if Zanuck was trying to do something more serious-minded, why sugar-coat it with the romance of Peck and McGuire's characters (it gets in the way of the real story).  

 

I think CROSSFIRE, which explores the subject matter in a film noir, is much better.  And actually, CROSSFIRE was supposed to be about a gay military officer, but they had to change it to a Jewish officer, because a story about a gay man would not get past the censors.

Didn't know that about the change in character in Crossfire. Interesting.

 

Crossfire was good, Sam Levene was very good.

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I don't find it credible that Gregory Peck could EVER pass for being Jewish. I guess he was cast because he had dark features.

it would have been better if they had given the lead role to Garfield, born Jacob Garfinkle.  Or to any other Jewish male actor of the period.  They should have revised the story so that it showed a character that was really Jewish, or at least half Jewish, who went unrecognized by others as being Jewish and when he comes out of the closet as a Jew, he deals with the discrimination his father and his cousins have faced. Something like that.  

 

But instead, just like with PINKY, Zanuck wanted to play it safe and cast a performer in the lead who was 'not actually that way' so that at the close of the show, they could go back to it being just a movie and that this was all a what-if, a make-believe.  I am sure that if Zanuck (and Kazan) had done a story about a homosexual, they would have made a point to cast an actor who had been happily married to a woman for many years and had ten kids, so the audience would know he was not really gay and that he was just pretending for the movie. 

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This is a Fox movie, so you might have seen it on the Fox Movie Channel.

I have never had The Fox Movie Channel. No, it seems to me like when an awful lot of time passes since a particular film was last shown by TCM, Osborne and Manckiewicz are redubbing them premieres. Problem is this real mislead some viewers into thinking the film has never aired on TCM before 

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Yeah, and besides, I always thought Greg WAS Jewish, and never in a million YEARS would've placed him as a Mackerel Snapper!!! LOL

 

(...hey...do people still use that term since Vatican II???)

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I find it interesting as a history lesson, giving us a rare glimpse of the 1940s that we don't usually see or hear.

The point of GA was giving audiences a rare glimpse.of a world then that.most of them didn't usually.see.or hear....or even know about. The great irony is that we had foughtht a war against the most extreme form of anti semitism, and don't know, or acknowledge that the problem exists in our midst. As the title suggests, those in the know knew, as did the victims, but very few others. Zanuck, the only non Jewish mogul at the time, was begged by the other studio heads to not make this movie, just like the June Havoc character suggests,.to not draw.attention from the outside world. Yes it is dated, one hopes, but most people then were blissfully unaware of this setup.

I don't find it credible that Gregory Peck could EVER pass for being Jewish. I guess he was cast because he had dark features.

I think Peck's casting works for this reason, because it made people aware about their stereotypical view of what a Jew was "supposed to look like".

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it would have been better if they had given the lead role to Garfield, born Jacob Garfinkle.  Or to any other Jewish male actor of the period.  They should have revised the story so that it showed a character that was really Jewish, or at least half Jewish, who went unrecognized by others as being Jewish and when he comes out of the closet as a Jew, he deals with the discrimination his father and his cousins have faced. Something like that.  

 

But instead, just like with PINKY, Zanuck wanted to play it safe and cast a performer in the lead who was 'not actually that way' so that at the close of the show, they could go back to it being just a movie and that this was all a what-if, a make-believe.  I am sure that if Zanuck (and Kazan) had done a story about a homosexual, they would have made a point to cast an actor who had been happily married to a woman for many years and had ten kids, so the audience would know he was not really gay and that he was just pretending for the movie.

 

Well things haven't changes all that much. The two leads in BROKEBACK MOUNTAIN weren't gay, I believe. If they had been, it would have not gotten the acclaim and general acceptance that it rid. It would have been just another indie film marketed to the gay community.

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Who knows what would have happened if the

Japanese had not attacked Pearl Harbor.

 

That's an interesting idea. I think we would have continued to stay out of the War if the Japanese had not attacked, and that might have allowed the Germans to take England and other territories in Europe.

 

If you watch some of TCM's shorts on the early days of the war, showing our tiny little tanks and our bi-planes, that shows how unprepared for war we were in the early 40s.

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The point of GA was giving audiences a rare glimpse.of a world then that.most of them didn't usually.see.or hear....or even know about. The great irony is that we had foughtht a war against the most extreme form of anti semitism, and don't know, or acknowledge that the problem exists in our midst. As the title suggests, those in the know knew, as did the victims, but very few others. Zanuck, the only non Jewish mogul at the time, was begged by the other studio heads to not make this movie, just like the June Havoc character suggests,.to not draw.attention from the outside world. Yes it is dated, one hopes, but most people then were blissfully unaware of this setup.

I think Peck's casting works for this reason, because it made people aware about their stereotypical view of what a Jew was "supposed to look like".

I am aware that many Jews, including myself, do not look like what a Jew is supposed to look like. But Peck pushes the envelope a bit too far. I believe that many Gentile actors of that period, (Cary Grant, e.g.) looked more "Jewish" than Peck.

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I am aware that many Jews, including myself, do not look like what a Jew is supposed to look like. But Peck pushes the envelope a bit too far. I believe that many Gentile actors of that period, (Cary Grant, e.g.) looked more "Jewish" than Peck.

 

I think that was done for the movie so he could surprise several people by announcing he was Jewish.

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In March 1955, Dorothy McGuire reprised her role for a radio version of GENTLEMAN'S AGREEMENT.  It was one of the last episodes of The Lux Radio Theater, which had been produced for about twenty years and since 1936 had been adapting popular motion pictures.  Ray Milland took Peck's role for this broadcast.  Of course, the story has been condensed so that it will fit the format of the show's usual hour-long dramatizations.  It is available at the Internet Archive for anyone who would be interested:

 

https://archive.org/details/Lux20

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