John Garfield Gentleman`s Agreement

It`s about the anti-Semitism of prosperous post-war America and the insidious way jews were excluded from high-level social clubs, resorts, and, of course, jobs. There have been no official bans, only a nod and wink and a “gentleman`s agreement” between non-Jews of conservative wasps that they know the kind of people they want to be associated with. This is the kind of everyday prejudice that Groucho Marx elegantly retaliated with his joke that he didn`t want to join a club that would have him as a member. The Bestseller Gentleman`s Agreement was published in Cosmopolitan (November 1946-February 1947) before being published in book form. In an interview with Cosmopolitan in July 1947, author Laura Z. Hobson said, “What was I trying to do with this book? I believe that a woman who wrote to me wrote it in two wonderful sentences. She says, “The bad guys aren`t really scary. It`s millions of nice people who do and tolerate bad things. I think that`s the heart of what I wanted to say. Hobson noticed that Darryl Zanuck, Fox`s production manager, who made the film his only personal production of 1947, told him that if the film failed to make it to the cinema, it would “push Hollywood back twenty years to honestly address the problem of prejudice.” The film was the first time famous playwright Moss Hart wrote directly for the screen. Director Elia Kazan notes in his autobiography that Jewish leaders from other major film studios held a meeting in which they urged Hart to convince Zanuck not to make the film because they did not want to stir up anti-Semitism. In a March 1947 New York Times article, it was stated: “Some objections [to the film] came from Jews who believe that the image can increase intolerance rather than reduce it, but a much larger proportion of Jewish opinion is approved by the company, according to Zanuck.” In a November 1947 New York Times column, critic Bosley Crowther referred to a rumor that a “well-known Hollywood producer” was trying to convince Hart that the film should not be shot, a situation that is reflected in the film itself, when a Jewish industrialist, quoting Crowther, claims, “You can`t write it by existence. The less we talk about it, the better. Leave him alone! According to Twentieth Century-Fox legal recordings, scenes were shot in various locations in New York City, including Rockefeller Plaza and NBC Building, as well as in Darien, CT.

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