I watched Gentlemen's Agreement on cable tonight after viewing it half a dozen times over the years -- it's such a great film.
Then Tom Rothman came in after the credits and offered some commentary on this 1947 movie. I was astounded. It wasn't embraced by the masses back then, and in fact, it brought the wrath of the know-nothings down on Hollywood, leading to the Blacklist period.
As a Midwestern-wasp who first saw it in the 40s, I thought it was elegant but overblown. Who could deny Gregory Peck a hotel room because he MIGHT be Jewish? That's a silly premise. I thought. John Garfield can't find a house in a decent neighborhood after mustering out of the Army? Give me a break. I've lived since 1936 and discovered over the years this country was not as envisioned by the settlers, at least the decent settlers. Since the 40s I've learned about the Japanese-American internments, the brutality of 'segregation'in the South, the anti-miscegenation laws where Korean wives were denied to Caucasian soldiers in Virginia, and the enforced subservience or prohibition of women in professions. Well the list is long. I'm glad Mr. Rothman pointed out recent films that raised public consciousness.
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