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Pinky (1949)

Approved | | Drama | November 1949 (USA)
A light-skinned African American woman falls in love with a white doctor, though he is unaware of her true race.

Directors:

, (uncredited)

Writers:

(novel), (screenplay) | 1 more credit »
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Nominated for 3 Oscars. Another 1 nomination. See more awards »

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Cast

Complete credited cast:
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Kenny Washington ...
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Frederick O'Neal ...
Evelyn Varden ...
Raymond Greenleaf ...
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Storyline

Pinky, a light skinned black woman, returns to her grandmother's house in the South after graduating from a Northern nursing school. Pinky tells her grandmother that she has been "passing" for white while at school in the North. In addition, Pinky has fallen in love with a young white doctor, Dr. Thomas Adams, who knows nothing about her black heritage. Pinky says that she will return to the North, but Granny Johnson convinces her to stay and treat an ailing white woman, Miss Em. Meanwhile, Dr. Canady, a black physician from another part of the state, visits Pinky and asks her to train some African American students, but she declines. Pinky nurses Miss Em but is resentful because she seems to feel that she is doing the same thing her grandmother did. Pinky and Miss Em slowly develop a mutual respect for one another. Mrs. Em leaves Pinky her property when she dies, but relatives of the deceased woman contest the new will in court. To raise money for the court fees, Pinky washes clothes... Written by Broncine G. Carter

Plot Summary | Add Synopsis

Taglines:

The poignant story of a girl who fell hopelessly in love! See more »

Genres:

Drama

Certificate:

Approved | See all certifications »
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Details

Country:

Language:

Release Date:

November 1949 (USA)  »

Also Known As:

Lo que la carne hereda  »

Box Office

Gross:

$4,200,000 (USA)
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Company Credits

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Technical Specs

Runtime:

Sound Mix:

(Western Electric Recording)

Aspect Ratio:

1.37 : 1
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Did You Know?

Trivia

Ethel Waters was King Vidor's first choice for the lead in "Hallelujah." When Waters proved unavailable, Vidor picked the unknown, teenage Nina Mae McKinney. Two decades later in "Pinky" McKinney appears in a decidedly supporting role with the Oscar-nominated Waters. See more »

Goofs

When actress Nina May Mckinney's character gets slapped on the left side of her face by the white officer, Nina mistakenly rubs the right side of her face. See more »

Quotes

Judge Walker: The expressed wishes of the dead should not be set aside to gratify the greed or the prejudice of the living.
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Connections

Featured in Ebert Presents: At the Movies: Episode #2.21 (2011) See more »

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User Reviews

 
Sincere drama of racial bigotry with outstanding performances...
24 May 2005 | by (U.S.A.) – See all my reviews

Elia Kazan took over the helm of PINKY when John Ford requested replacement as having no real interest in the story. He not only took over, but he did a superb job.

Personally, it took awhile for me to get over the idea of casting JEANNE CRAIN as a light-skinned black, but she does some of her best work here. Same can be said of Ethel Waters and Ethel Barrymore, and not surprisingly, all three actresses were nominated for Oscars. Undoubtedly, all benefited by Kazan's firm direction.

The story is essentially written to show the racial bigotry that existed (and still does) in many parts of the South. Without going into plot development, let's say the ending is a bit predictable, but the film still remains powerful and sensitive in its treatment of the subject matter.

In 1949, this was a daring film for Fox to make, risking the possibility of hurting the reputation of its most popular box-office star at that time, Jeanne Crain. But credit goes to Darryl F. Zanuck for permitting his studio to make films like THE SNAKE PIT and GENTLEMAN'S AGREEMENT, risky and controversial. The box-office results and critical acclaim justified the risk.

Well worth seeing, absorbing and sensitive.


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