View Single Post
Old February 3 2011, 05:16 AM   #141
CaptainCanada's Avatar
Location: Charlottetown, PEI, Canada
Re: Movies Seen in 2011

10. Black Swan (B+)
11. Made in Dagenham (B)
12. Gentleman's Agreement (A-)

1947's Best Picture winner, one of the films that marked the ascent of Gregory Peck to the highest tier of Hollywood stardom, where he would remain from the late 1940s until the early 1960s.

It's an earnest (at times, overly so) anti-anti-Semitic message piece, but it approaches the subject with more dexterity than a lot of stories do. It's much more interested in the "silent accomplices", people who aren't anti-Semitic per se but don't do anything about people who are. Those questions retain their relevance to contemporary society, even as the film's particular prejudice has receded so thoroughly that the world depicted in Gentleman's Agreement feels quite alien. Actually, the film itself feels a little oddly positioned, in retrospect; it came out in 1947, and it is quite passionate about anti-Semitism as a growing menace that must be fought, when these days we'd say it was in fact on the verge of becoming a spent force as the ramifications of the Holocaust sunk in.

This was one of Peck's first Oscar nominations. I've often though that Peck was the white Sidney Poitier; his characters have the same sort of dogged (and kind of one-dimensional) nobility in the face of injustice. Pretty much whenever they showed up, the audience instinctively looked to them as a paragon of morality. He's good here, though the bulk of the overly-earnest moments mentioned earlier also fall to him (but given the time, that's understandable). Celeste Holm won her Oscar for this movie, as the runner-up for Peck's affections, and I kind of suspect that if this movie were made today Peck would have ended up with her. There's also a very young Dean Stockwell as Peck's son. The romance between Peck and Dorothy McGuire is the film's weak point; mainly, it starts way, way too fast (they become engaged after, like, two days).
"I'm a white male, age 18 to 49. Everyone listens to me, no matter how dumb my suggestions are!"

- Homer Simpson
CaptainCanada is offline   Reply With Quote