Friday, 27 November 2015

I've Just Seen: Gentleman's Agreement (1947)

Gentleman's Agreement (1947)

Director: Elia Kazan

I love Gregory Peck; though he doesn't always play decent, upstanding characters, there is a sense of trust when he is on screen. He is genuine in his acting, making us believe in the characters he portrays. While Atticus Finch is his most beloved performance (and rightly so) as a decent man, his Philip Schuyler Green is another demonstration of his conviction when he acts.

The acting in general is what makes this film so watchable, and more importantly, makes the story work. Kazan's film is not subtle in its approach to antisemitism, but the richness of the characters stops the film from becoming purely about the message. The complexities of the situation are effectively moved through, as Philip and Kathy try to stay together against the prejudices of middle America.

Of all the performances the one that stood out to me was Celeste Holm, who plays fashion editor Anne Dettrey. Hers is one of the best performances of the decade, as she befriends Philip and deals with his story about being Jewish. Honestly, it is worth seeing this film just to watch her reaction when Philip asks if he can bring Kathy to Anne's party.

This is a solid film that these days would be called 'Oscar bait, ' largely down to the message at the film's heart, and the across the board acting. But don't let that description stop you; this is well worth your time.


  1. I found this one surprising. I went into it expecting not much and came away impressed. For me, aside from Peck, the most noteworthy performance here is that of the great John Garfield, which is not to belittle Celeste Holm's work at all--she's magnificent.

    My biggest complaint is that Peck should've ended up with Celeste Holm's character.

    1. Completely agree about Peck and Holm ending up together, but I suppose it would have been seen as the easy ending.

      Garfield is also great, I should have made mention of him. His role is quieter, yet arguably more powerful because of it. I can imagine a night on the town with Garfield and Holm's characters would have been a hoot!