With my local movie theater charging $12.50 per ticket, and with all of the expenses that come with planning my upcoming nuptials (as I commented below on C.J.’s post, I wish we had opted to elope), I’m determined to avoid the cinema this summer. Instead, I’m raiding the public library for every 1940s and 50s film I can get my hands on and plan to write a series over at Acculturated on the selections I watch. While plenty has changed in the sixty to seventy years since these films were produced, the basic human themes of love, truth, happiness, meaning, forgiveness, and mutual understanding are as relevant now as ever.
My first selection, which I write about here, was the 1947 film Gentleman’s Agreement, directed by Elia Kazan and starring Gregory Peck. It’s a great movie, if at times a bit on the preachy side, that treats the subject of anti-Semitism. Not the blatant, kill-the-Jews strain of anti-Semitism of Hitler’s Germany or Ahmadinejad’s Iran, but rather the passive and incredibly pernicious strain of anti-Semitism prevalent in postwar America.
My next selection will be on the 1950 film Sunset Boulevard, starring William Holden and Gloria Swanson. Member Adrian has already sold me on Elia Kazan’s On the Waterfront, which I plan on reviewing as part of my series, but I welcome your recommendations for other outstanding films from the 1940s and 50s that stand the test of time and remain relevant for today’s generation.