Gentleman's Agreement

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{son, year, death}
{black, white, people}
{group, member, jewish}
{work, book, publish}
{theory, work, human}
{area, community, home}
{government, party, election}

Gentleman's Agreement is a 1947 drama film about a journalist (played by Gregory Peck) who goes undercover as a Jew to research antisemitism in New York City and the affluent community of Darien, Connecticut. The movie was controversial in its time, as was a similar film on the same subject, Crossfire, which was also released the same year and also nominated for a Best Picture Oscar. Gentleman's Agreement was based on Laura Z. Hobson's 1947 novel of the same name.

The movie is available on DVD as part of the 20th Century Fox Studio Classics collection.

Contents

Plot

Philip Schuyler Green (Gregory Peck) is a widowed journalist who has just moved to New York City with his son Tommy (Dean Stockwell) and mother (Anne Revere). Green meets with magazine publisher John Minify (Albert Dekker), who asks Green to write an article on antisemitism. After initially struggling with how to approach the topic in a fresh way, Green is inspired to adopt a Jewish identity ("Phil Greenberg") and write about his own first-hand experiences. Green and Minify agree to keep it secret that Phil is not Jewish; since he and his family are new to New York, it should be easy to hide.

At a dinner party, Phil meets Minify's divorced niece Kathy Lacey (Dorothy McGuire), who turns out to be the person who originally suggested the story idea. Minify provides her with a large apartment and money. Kathy "works" as a pre-school teacher. Phil and Kathy begin dating. Though she seems to have liberal views, when he reveals what he intends to do, she is taken aback and asks if he actually is Jewish. The strain on their relationship due to Kathy's subtle acquiescence to bigotry becomes a key theme in the film.

At the magazine, Phil is assigned a secretary, Elaine Wales (June Havoc), who reveals that she too is Jewish. She changed her name in order to get the job (her application under her real, Jewish-sounding name, Estelle Wilovsky, was rejected). After Phil informs Minify about Wales' experience, Minify orders the magazine to adopt hiring policies that are open to Jews. Wales has reservations about the new policy, fearing that the "wrong Jews" will be hired and ruin things for the few Jews working there now. Phil meets fashion editor Anne Dettrey (Celeste Holm), who becomes a good friend and potentially more, particularly as strains develop between Phil and Kathy.

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