I`ve seen a lot of people describe this film as “a play of time” and a great film, but irrelevant in our time. But this film has lessons that any new generation should learn. The lessons taught in this film can be applied to other forms of prejudice such as sexism, racism and homophobia, among others. Even today, our society is full of “nice” people who hate bigotry and intolerance, but who stand idly by when they get there directly. If you watch this movie, it could change everything. The film is as powerful today as it was at the Award for Best Picture a few years after the end of the Hitler genocide in Europe. In 1947, the Oscar for Best Picture was awarded to Gentleman`s Agreement with Gregory Peck as a campaign reporter on a mission. The awards for Best Director were also awarded to Elia Kazan and Best Supporting Actress to Celeste Holm. At first glance, this sounds like a “publishing film” rather worthy of the 1940s, the kind of film the Academy thought it was honoring. But gentleman`s Agreement is always a captivating, fascinating, somewhat boring, by turns naïve and very sharp film, fascinating for what it puts and omchant. It`s not that the explicit bigot language was unusual in some way. The film was adapted by Moss Hart after the bestseller by popular author Laura Z Hobson, who moved her .B.
by outrage at how a congressman called columnist Walter Winchell a “kike” without anyone whispering. The film mentions three real people known for their bigotry: Mississippi Senator Theodore Bilbo, who advocated the return to Africa of all African Americans; Mississippi MP John Rankin, who called columnist Walter Winchell a “little kike” in the hallway of the house; and the leader of the Christian nationalist crusade Gerald Smith, who sued the film Twentieth Century-Fox Corp. to prevent the film from being screened in Tulsa. He lost the case, but Smith sued Fox for $1,000,000 through the court system, which ultimately dismissed it in 1951. Hobson was Jewish; Born Laura Kean Zametkin, she changed her name to get a job as a magazine secretary – a decision that comes in the film, and what is interesting, transformed. Hart was Jewish, the film`s producer Darryl Zanuck was a Methodist, Elia Kazan came from Greek-Orthodox descent and Peck grew up Catholic. The personal, authoritarian and religious intelligence of this film is Hobson. The film was controversial in its day, as was a similar film on the same theme, Crossfire, released the same year (while this film was originally a story of homophobia, which was later turned into anti-Semitism).
Gentleman`s Agreement was generally well received by the influential New York Times critic, Bosley Crowther. Crowther stated that “every point about the prejudices that Miss Hobson had to make in her book was made with superior illustration and more graphic demonstration in the film, so that the momentum of her moral indignation is not only broadened, but is strengthened.” But Crowther also said the film shared the novel`s failures by “narrowly limiting explorations at the social and professional level of the upper class, to which it is immediately exposed.” He also said that the main character`s shock at the scale of anti-Semitism lacked credibility: “It`s an extraordinarily naïve role in careful analysis.”  The film was an unexpected box office success. According to Variety, he earned $3.9 million in rent in the United States in 1948.  Gentleman`s Agreement not only won the Oscars for Best Picture and Best Director, but was also one of Fox`s best-selling films in 1947. However, the political nature of the film angered the House Un-American Activities Committee, with Elia Kazan, Darryl Zanuck, John Garfield and Anne Revere all called to testify before the committee. Revere refused to testify, and although Garfield appeared, he refused to “give names.” Both were placed on the red channels of the Hollywood blacklist. Garfield remained on the blacklist for a year, was again called to testify against his wife and died of a heart attack at the age of 39 before his second hearing.