I was a bit skeptical. I have not yet found that I love old, black and white movies. Some are great, but it is not my normal love. (This is where I admit that I love movies and tv filled with lots of good, fast speech and that I have soft spot for action flicks.) But Elizabeth and I were several glasses of wine in, the fire was flickering pleasantly, and it was, quite simply, time to settle in with a movie.
This is a movie that you should netflix and then spend two hours watching. It won a pile of Oscars and Golden Globes – in 1948. Gregory Peck stars as a journalist given the assignment of writing a series on anti-semitism. He decides to take a new angle and poses as Jew in New York City – where he had just moved for the assignment. And through his daily life, his son, his mother, his fiance, and his friends, a story of prejudice and bigotry boils to the surface. Not the stories that we so often hear of lynchings or genocides, but of the gentlemanâ€™s agreements that let all of that happen. How we hear a joke and feel sick inside but say nothing. Maybe turn our head when people of two different races or colors do not receive the same level of service. When a parent admits to a child that they are glad they are of a given race. And thus prejudice and bigotry remain.
Gentlemanâ€™s Agreement made its point loud and clear while also being a good film. I wish I could say that I learned something about how â€˜things used to be.â€™ Instead I was reminded of how certain things are, sadly, timeless. And as long as this remains true, I am thankful for such poignant reminders.