Gentlemen`s Agreement Plot

Moss Hart`s screenplay eliminated some of the book`s secondary characters, such as the writer`s bigoted sister, as well as a series of action sequences, such as events in winter sports. Moreover, obviously for censor-moral reasons, the intimate relationship between the writer and Kathy, as well as between Dave and Anne, is now only inferential in the first case and in the second. Not only are the basic elements of Hobson`s work preserved, but in some cases they retain a larger dimension and greater plausibility. This applies to adaptation, staging and performances. Thus, the first meeting between Phil Green and Kathy is more understandable on the screen than on the printed page. Similarly, the couple`s other scenes, especially the initial love scene, dramatize their irresistible reciprocal physical attraction that overcomes their violent philosophical differences. 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.

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.