The bestseller Gentleman`s Agreement was published in Cosmopolitan (Nov 1946-February 1947) before being published as a book. In an interview with Cosmopolitan in July 1947, author Laura Z. Hobson said, “What have I tried to do with this book? I think a woman who wrote to me put it in two wonderful sentences. She says: “The bad guys aren`t really scary. It`s the millions of nice people who do and let them do horrible things. I think that`s the problem with what I was trying to say. Hobson noted that Darryl Zanuck, Fox`s production manager, who made the film his only personal production in 1947, told him that if the film failed in the box office of the cinema, “Hollywood would go back twenty years to be honest with the problem of prejudice.” The film was the first time the famous playwright Moss Hart wrote directly for the screen. Director Elia Kazan writes in his autobiography that Jewish leaders from other major film studios held a meeting at which they pushed Hart to convince Zanuck not to make the film because they did not want to stir up anti-Semitism. In a March 1947 New York Times article, “some objections [against the film] came from Jews who thought the image could increase intolerance rather than reduce it, but much Jewish opinion agreed with the project, according to Zanuck. In a November 1947 New York Times column, critic Bosley Crowther said that a “famous Hollywood producer” was trying to convince hard that the film should not be made, a situation that is reflected in the film itself when a Jewish industrialist who quotes Crowther says, “You can`t write it from existence. The less we talk about it, the better.
Leave him alone! According to The final recordings of Twentieth Century-Fox, scenes were shot at various locations in New York, including Rockefeller Plaza and the NBC Building, and in Darien, CT. The Los Angeles Daily News reported that John Garfield accepted his limited role in the film after Zanuck promised that the film would remain true to Hart`s screenplay. The film`s advertisement says that Zanuck Garfield paid “his full star salary” for the role. In reviewing the film, Daily Variety praised the Garfield and Celeste Holm actor and said: “It`s an image where the performances of the secondary actors are or are at the top of those of the two main actors.” Fox legal records report that Morris Carnovsky was originally hired as “Professor Lieberman,” but his contract was terminated by mutual agreement. Modern sources say that the fox film was the raw image of 1948, that it cost $2,000,000, and that it was the second largest raw image until that time in the South. The film received the Oscar for Best Film and Celeste Holm as Best Secondary Actress. Gentleman`s Agreement was also nominated for the Academy Award for Best Leading Actor (Gregory Peck), Best Lead Actress (Dorothy McGuire), Best Supporting Actress (Anne Revere), Writing-Screenplay (Moss Hart) and Film Editing (Harmon Jones). According to an announcement by the Motion Picture Herald in April 1948, the image won 51 film awards, including the New York Critics` Circle Award.
In a modern interview, Kazan said of the film: “For the first time, someone said that America is full of anti-Semitism, both consciously and unconsciously, and among the best and most liberal people. It was a much bolder statement then than it is today…. We told the audience that you were an average American and that you were anti-Semitic. In his autobiography, Kazan justified his enthusiasm for the film by the fact that he had “not what would have made it lasting: the intimate experience of someone who had lived the bitter and humiliating experience.” Critics praised the film.