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"Backstory" Gentleman's Agreement (2001)

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A "no holds barred" look at Hollywood perfidy and perniciousness . . .

9/10
Author: cricket crockett from Texas
26 February 2014

*** This review may contain spoilers ***

. . . as the final 40% of this 25-minute short is devoted to telling the sordid "rest of the story" about GENTLEMEN'S AGREEMENT (which yesterday's USA TODAY newspaper listed as a part of one of the 10 biggest scandals in Oscar history). Director Elia Kazan could smell an Oscar when he picked up this novel, and he recruited (or "outed," depending on how you look at it) Jewish actor John Garfield to play Jewish character David Goldman in his film. However, the U.S. political party which successfully kept America out of WWII until 6 million Jews were doomed--still smarting over the defeat of the Third Reich--started the infamous "witch hunts" of the late 1940s and early 1950s, making Kazan (because he had a "foreign sounding" name and because GENTLEMEN'S AGREEMENT made some fascists squirm) their star snitch. Kazan sang like a canary, and all his subsequent films were fascist propaganda, including the anti-Labor screed ON THE WATERFRONT, for which a dithering shaking-in-its-boots Hollywood awarded Elia a SECOND Oscar!! Just as the Nazis were able to persuade some Jewish men in their Death Camps to clear the "shower rooms" and pitch the corpses in the ovens, this short even shows Kazan on tape saying he'd do his dastardly deeds all over again, given the chance. His narcing on John Garfield and wife led to continual government harassment of the Garfield family during the few remaining months of John's life, till he died of an alleged "heart attack" at age 39. Assassination by persecution or by jack-booted tricksters, Garfield was gone forever, and Kazan was basically given a "bounty" for killing him. The records of how many "scalps" of fellow movie people Kazan collected will be sealed for another 17 years, but the death toll weeded out America's best and brightest, enabling the Vietnam War and Watergate. Half of Hollywood's biggest names were Kazan sympathizers, and these bullies silenced the rest for years to come. "Red states" and "Blue states" started here, folks, as shown by this episode of AMC's BACKSTORY.

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Good Look at the Controversial Classic

Author: Michael_Elliott from Louisville, KY
28 March 2012

Backstory: Gentleman's Agreement (2001)

*** (out of 4)

Another good episode in the series, this one taking a look at the pressure on producer Darryl F. Zanuck as he refused to back down and went ahead on making GENTLEMAN'S AGREEMENT. The documentary talks about the other studio heads turning their backs on the novel and then begging Zanuck not to produce it fearing a backlash on Hollywood. From here we learn about the casting of Gregory Peck, hiring Elia Kazan and getting John Garfield to accept a smaller, supporting role. The film's glory and success at the box office and Academy Awards are discussed but so are the events following the movie including the House on UnAmerican Activities look at Hollywood and why many believe it killed Garfield. Fans of the film should be really entertained at this film because it really gives one a great idea of what was going on in the world at the time and there's talk about what impact the film did have before the country took a turn for the worse. Kazan's decision to name names is discussed and we get an archival interview with him where he talks about his decision. Rudy Behlmer, David Brown, Julie Garfield, Mel Gussow and Celeste Holm are all interviewed about the making of the movie.

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