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. 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 was generally well received by the influential New York Times critic, Bosley Crowther. Crowther stated that “every point about the prejudices that Miss Hobson had to make in her book was made with superior illustration and more graphic demonstration in the film, so that the momentum of her moral indignation is not only broadened, but is strengthened.” But Crowther also said the film shared the novel`s failures by “narrowly limiting explorations at the social and professional level of the upper class, to which it is immediately exposed.” He also said that the main character`s shock at the scale of anti-Semitism lacked credibility: “It`s an extraordinarily naïve role in careful analysis.” In 1947, the Oscar for Best Picture was awarded to Gentleman`s Agreement with Gregory Peck as a campaign reporter on a mission. The awards for Best Director were also awarded to Elia Kazan and Best Supporting Actress to Celeste Holm. At first glance, this sounds like a “publishing film” rather worthy of the 1940s, the kind of film the Academy thought it was honoring. But gentleman`s Agreement is always a captivating, fascinating, somewhat boring, by turns naïve and very sharp film, fascinating for what it puts and omchant. 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.
Tommy asks his father about anti-Semitism, and when Phil has trouble explaining it, he decides to accept the mission. But he is frustrated by his inability to find a satisfactory approach, because he and Minify want the series to go beyond simply unmasking the crackpot mentality. After trying to imagine what his childhood Jewish friend Dave Goldman, who is now in the army abroad, must feel when he sees bigotry, Phil decides to write from the perspective of a Jew. However, he continued to find it difficult to write until he realized that certain things could never be known until they were discovered first-hand, and that the only way to have the necessary experience was to appear Jewish in the eyes of others. When Minify announces the series of a Luncheon group, Phil incidentally mentions that he is Jewish. Later, Phil learns from his new secretary that she was told there were no posts in the magazine when she applied under her real name Estelle Walofsky, but when she applied again with Ethel Wales, she got the job.