Gentleman’s Agreement

Gentleman’s Agreement. 20th Century Fox 1947.

Before watching the movie:

I’m unclear whether the anti-Semitism the main character wants to expose is within a particular institution, or more broadly, within society at large, like the seminal Black Like Me, or less seminal White Chicks.

While there are people, perhaps even people who would not be considered eugenicists or race-nationalists, who consider “Jewish” a morphological race, the physical characteristics are very subtle, to the point where I’m not sure how a Gentile reporter would pose as a Jewish man other than introducing himself to people who don’t know him with a “hi, I’m Jewish, by the way!” A long game approach would probably be to get a new job somewhere and drop big hints, but that would point back to “within a single institution”. I feel like I got out of my depth three paragraphs ago and I should just let the movie tell its own story.

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Roman Holiday

Roman Holiday. Paramount Pictures 1953.
Roman Holiday. Paramount Pictures 1953.

Before watching the movie:

I always thought that a “Roman Holiday” was just recreation with wild abandon and no care for responsibility, like a Bacchanal, and as such I expected a carefree road movie. However, looking it up just now, I have learned that it was at least originally coined as an idiom to mean a depraved kind of schadenfreude (as in a crowd-pleasing public execution). Considering that the summary I’ve seen describes a sheltered princess escaping from her handlers and into the company of a reporter looking for a story, that seems ominous. But it’s a romantic comedy, so not very ominous.

I’ve known this movie existed for a long time, and never noticed the male lead is Gregory Peck. Nobody ever talks about Gregory Peck outside of To Kill a Mockingbird and Moby Dick anymore.

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Moby Dick

Moby Dick. Moulin Productions 1956.
Moby Dick. Moulin Productions 1956.

Before watching the movie:

The most intriguing big name here is the writer: Ray Bradbury. Gregory Peck rarely gets mentioned outside of To Kill a Mockingbird anymore, I’m sure director John Huston has a following among deep film buffs, and of course Melville’s novel is a (somewhat sloppy) masterpiece, but Bradbury gets my attention. When I think of Bradbury, I think of his sci-fi concepts. I never think of his words, only his ideas. In a medium dominated by actors and directors, using someone else’s ideas and doubtless many of his words, I’m curious to see if I can spot any of Bradbury coming through.

Note should be made that this is once again from my late great aunt’s collection.

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