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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 love story of a girl who passed for white! 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)
 »

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

John Ford was the original director of the film, but after seeing dailies Darryl F. Zanuck felt Ford wasn't connecting with the material. Zanuck called Elia Kazan in New York and asked him to take over the film. Kazan felt he owed Zanuck for his film career, and agreed to do the movie without even looking at the script. He flew to Los Angeles and started filming the next Monday. 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

Melba Wooley: Cousin Em, what do you mean, gettin' sick like this?
Miss Em: When you're eighty years old, you expect to be sick. Sit down.
Melba Wooley: Now, now. Naughty, naughty. Eighty years *young* is what we say.
Miss Em: I don't. It's old, and I won't have it minimized. Takes a lot of livin' to get there, and pure, cursed endurance. Eighty years young indeed!
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Connections

Featured in Classified X (1998) 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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