Sunday, October 17, 2010

Battle of The Oscar Stars: Best Picture 1947

Many a serious journalist in our day have sacrificed their own being for a greater purpose; to see life in someone else's shoes. Supermodel/"talk show host" Tyra Banks, broke down the wall on body image issues by selflessly strutting the streets of New York City in a rubenesque body suit. For awhile this turned into the "investigation du-jour" and was done by every legit (and I mean LEGIT) news outlet from here to the moon. From a shocking expose on Entertainment Tonight to a Lifetime Movie, and it was all the biggest bunch of BS I have ever seen.

Cue classic actor extraordinaire, Gregory Peck, to show us how actual journalism is done. Tyra, take notes (oh wait, your talk show is already not on the air anymore...sorry).

Definitely shooing into a more serious tone, because the Best Picture winner of 1947, Gentleman's Agreement, is real serious.

The setting: near post WWII America and anti-semitism is running rampant around the country (see, I meant it when I said real serious). In order to understand the feelings of Jewish people living in the world, Peck plays a journalist who decides to "pretend"  to be a part of the Jewish religion in order to write a series of news stories and obviously, his life his thrown into pure mayhem.

This film is by no means a documentary, but it is one of those "time capsule" movies that demonstrates a slice- of-life for a period of time in our history. I'll just say, it made me pissed off and I instantly ran to the computer to do incessant research on the topic. To be honest, this movie opened my eyes; I really had no idea how far anti-semetic feelings ran into our own country. This was not, in any form, referenced in my 17 years of schooling. See, watching Best Picture Winners is, in its own way, a learning tool!

Even with this negative theme, genius director Elia Kazan (from On the Waterfront and East Of Eden fame), also presents a film that held a lot of high hopes for the future of the world. In my favorite scene, an emotional Anne Revere (who plays Peck's mother), declares, "Wouldn't it be wonderful... if it turned out to be everybody's century... when people all over the world - free people - found a way to live together? I'd like to be around to see some of that... even the beginning. I may stick around for quite a while."

A scene which made me equally sad and hopefully that this view for the future is still possible. We are still innately awful to each other much of the time. As a wise girl once said, "I wish we could all get along like we used to in middle school... I wish I could bake a cake filled with rainbows and smiles and everyone would eat and be happy..."

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