20th-Fox release of Darryl F. Zanuck production. Stars Gregory Peck, Dorothy McGuire, John Garfield; features Celeste Holm, Anne Revere, June Havoc, Albert Dekker, Jane Wyatt, Dean Stockwell. Directed by Elia Kazan. Screenplay, Moss Hart, from the novel by Laura Z. Hobson; music, Alfred Newman; orchestral arrangements, Edward Powell; camera, Arthur Miller; editor, Harmon Jones. Previewed N.Y. Nov. 7, ’47. Running time: 118 MIN.
The spectacular critical, popular and financial success of Laura Z. Hobson’s “Gentleman’s Agreement” as a novel should be repeated by Darryl F. Zanuck’s brilliant and powerful film version. Just as the original story of the writer (character), who poses as a Jew to write a magazine series on anti-Semitism was a milestone in modern fiction, the picture is one of the most vital and stirring and impressive in Hollywood history. It should clean up at the boxoffice and bring deserved acclaim to its creators.
The film is, if anything, an improvement over the novel. This is not merely because the story has been better focused and somewhat condensed, without softening the treatment. It is also more graphic and atmospheric than the book and, more importantly, because it has greater dramatic depth and force, and more personal, emotional impact. Even the least-informed and least sensitive filmgoer can hardly fail to identify himself with the characters on the screen, and be profoundly moved. The picture provides an almost overwhelming emotional experience and thus is not only highly topical, but truly universal.