A review of this — 5 years ago
The film got off to a slow start for me. Gregory Peck plays Schuyler Green, a writer recently invited to New York to work on a piece about anti-semitism. He struggles to come up with an angle for the piece and meanwhile falls in love with a divorced upper-class woman, Kathy. He decides to pretend to be Jewish to get an insider look at how anti-Semitism feels. The film has its flaws. Peck is incredibly good, as always, but the relationship with Kathy seems forced and I never felt involved in the issues between them (possibly because I was rooting for Peck to hook up with Celeste Holm the entire time).
Taking into account the injustices other minorities were living in during the time, the film at times feels like misguided preachiness – or even racist really if you think about them arguing for the rights of all white people to be treated the same regardless of religion, yet they never really tackle the color issue. However, the film wonderfully examines the hypocritical prejudice many “nice” people have. Growing up in the south, I was constantly amazed at how many white people say racist things to other white people that they would never say in front of an African American or Hispanic person. They know it is wrong, but have the idea that all white people secretly think the same way they do. The film clearly lays the blame of continued prejudice on so called “nice” people who allow these rude comments and actions to go unchecked because of a feeling that it would be impolite to cause a scene. Sometimes there are times when you simply have to stand up against such injustices. Unfortunately, this movie was made 60 years ago and much of the same hypocritical prejudice still exists.