It is about the anti-Semitism of prosperous post-war America and the insidious way in which Jews were excluded from high-level social clubs, resorts and, of course, jobs. There have been no official bans, just a nod and a nod and a “gentleman`s agreement” between nice conservatives they know the kind of people they want to be associated with. This is the kind of everyday prejudice that Groucho Marx elegantly dismissed with his joke that he did not want to join a club that would have him as a member. Gentleman`s Agreement is the kind of film that contains the usual drama of a Zanuck movie, but the subject is what makes the film so pioneering. The film was controversial in its day, as was a similar film on the same theme, Crossfire, released the same year (while this film was originally a story of homophobia, which was later turned into anti-Semitism). The film is as powerful today as it was at the Award for Best Picture a few years after the end of the Hitler genocide in Europe. Gentleman`s Agreement not only won the Oscars for Best Picture and Best Director, but was also one of Fox`s most successful films in 1947. However, the political nature of the film angered the House Un-American Activities Committee, with Elia Kazan, Darryl Zanuck, John Garfield and Anne Revere all called to testify before the committee. Revere refused to testify, and although Garfield appeared, he refused to “give names.” Both were placed on the red channels of the Hollywood blacklist. Garfield remained on the blacklist for a year, was again called to testify against his wife and died of a heart attack at the age of 39 before his second hearing. Philip Schuyler Green, a widowed journalist, comes from California to New York with his son Tommy and his mother to work for Smith`s Weekly, a leading national magazine.
John Minify, the publisher, wants Phil to write a series about anti-Semitism, but Phil is lukewarm about commissioning. At one party, Phil Minify`s niece meets Kathy Lacy, a divorcee to whom Phil is attracted, and Kathy reminds her uncle that she proposed the series some time ago.