Mr. Zanuck's “Gentleman's Agreement”:
Reflections on Hollywood's Second Film About Anti-Semitism
Life being what it is, last year’s publicity out of Hollywood to the effect that Twentieth Century-Fox was “lavishing its all” on its super-production of Gentleman’s Agreement could not help but arouse a certain apprehensiveness. In Mr. Zanuck’s wizard hands was one of the great human issues of our time. Almost inevitably, some felt, there would emerge from the Hollywood belt line another huge purring stratoliner of a film, in whose chromium-bright hollow interior we would be sky-borne, passive as packages, to be redeposited two hours later quite untouched, and only a little airsick.
It is a pleasure to report that for once in a lifetime Mr. Zanuck is even better than his billing. The plain fact is that Gentleman’s Agreement is a moving, thought-provoking film, which dramatically brings home the question of anti-Semitism to precisely those people whose insight is most needed—decent, average Americans. In honesty and reality, it is immensely superior to a film like The Best Years of Our Lives, Hollywood’s machine-made slicky on postwar GI problems. If there is any justice, it should win at least half as many Oscars.
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