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Gentleman’s Agreement Blu-ray Review

  • Aspect Ratio: 1.33:1
  • Video Codec: AVC/MPEG-4
  • Resolution: 1080p/24
  • Audio Codec: DTS-HD Master Audio 1.0, French Dolby Digital 1.0, Spanish Dolby Digital 1.0, English Dolby Digital 1.0
  • Subtitles: English, Spanish
  • Region: A (B? C?)
  • Rating: PG
  • Running Time: 118 minutes
  • Discs: 1 (1 x Blu-ray)
  • Studio: 20th Century Fox
  • Blu-ray Release Date: January 15, 2013
  • List Price: $24.99

Overall
[Rating:4/5]
The Film
[Rating:4.5/5]
Video Quality
[Rating:3/5]
Audio Quality
[Rating:3/5]
Supplemental Materials
[Rating:3/5]

Click thumbnails for high-resolution 1920X1080p screen captures

(All TheaterByte screen captures are lightly compressed with lossy JPEG at 100% quality setting and are meant as a general representation of the content. They do not fully reveal the capabilities of the Blu-ray format)

The Film

[Rating:4.5/5]

A landmark film in its day, Gentleman’s Agreement broke new ground in exposing the dark side of religious prejudice in post-WW II America. Philip Schuyler Green (Gregory Peck) is a widower who has just arrived in New York. A talented journalist who believes in connecting with his subjects, Green is hired to write a series on antisemitism for a major magazine run by John Minify (Albert Dekker) and he reluctantly agrees. Green meets Minify’s niece, divorcee Kathy Lacey (Dorothy McGuire) and sparks instantly fly. The cast is neatly filled out by Green’s mother (Anne Revere) and son Tommy (Dean Stockwell). While brainstorming to get the magazine article going, Green contacts his Jewish childhood friend Dave Goldman (John Garfield) to get a better understanding of the nature of anti-Semitism.  The remainder of the cast is chock-full of great actors including Celeste Holm (Anne Dettrey), June Havoc (Elaine Wales), and Jane Wyatt (Jane).  In the context of this plot, a gentleman’s agreement was an unwritten tactic to prevent certain ethnic or religious groups from buying homes in upper class communities, getting rooms in certain resorts or joining “restricted” clubs. When Green becomes personally involved in researching his assignment and adopts a phony Jewish identity, things rapidly get out of control and threaten to destroy his family and love life. While today’s world might view this script as dated, its themes certainly are not. Gentleman’s Agreement was awarded three Oscars (Best Supporting Actress, Best Director, and Best Film), the direct result of great actors meeting great screenwriters and directors.

Video Quality

[Rating:3/5]


There is always a breath-catching moment when 1940’s films are resurrected in HD format. Here, the results are reasonably good although there is inevitable grain and washout in some of the scenes.

Audio Quality

[Rating:3/5]

The mono DTS-HD Master Audio track is full bodied and dialogue friendly. Alfred Newman’s score, certainly one of his best, gets its due. Given the age of the audio recording, there is a boxy quality with just the slightest distortion in louder passages.

Supplemental Materials

[Rating:3/5]

There is commentary by actors June Havoc and Celeste Holm, and film critic Richard Schickel. Those unfamiliar with the period of this film will benefit from “Hollywood Backstories: Gentleman’s Agreement” that describes the concerns that a number of Hollywood filmmakers, many of them Jewish, had about taking on this subject. There are two Fox Movietone newsreels and the original theatrical trailer.

The Definitive Word

Overall:

[Rating:4/5]

Ethnic prejudice is, unfortunately, still with us, in spite of substantial legislation to prevent such behavior and its ill effects. We have had subsequent films that have dealt with this subject like Guess Who’s Coming to Dinner. None has proven more effective than Gentleman’s Agreement in removing the lid from the tacit social formulas that were based on the exclusivity of race and religion. An extraordinary cast carries this great script by the legendary Moss Hart and direction by the equally legendary Elia Kazan. Viewers receive a temporal insight into the all too familiar realities of prejudice in post-war America as expressed in such lines as “some of my best friends are Jewish.” At the time of its filming, there was significant risk taking in bringing such an issue to the silver screen since such “agreements” were the rule of the day. Further, many of the Hollywood moguls were Jewish and did not want to stir up such a potential hornet’s nest. This film certainly belongs in our libraries, and merits repeated viewings and sharing with our children.

Additional Screen Captures

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BestBuy.com:
Gentleman's Agreement - Fullscreen Dubbed Subtitle Dts - Blu-ray Disc

Purchase Gentleman’s Agreement on Blu-ray at CD Universe

Shop for more Blu-ray titles at Amazon.com

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BestBuy.com:
Gentleman's Agreement - Fullscreen Dubbed Subtitle Dts - Blu-ray Disc

Purchase Gentleman’s Agreement on Blu-ray at CD Universe

Shop for more Blu-ray titles at Amazon.com

Overall
[Rating:4/5]
The Film
[Rating:4.5/5]
Video Quality
[Rating:3/5]
Audio Quality
[Rating:3/5]
Supplemental Materials
[Rating:3/5]


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