Philip Green is a highly respected writer who is recruited by a national magazine to write a series of articles on anti-Semitism in America. He’s not too keen on the series, mostly because he’s not sure how to tackle the subject. Then it dawns on him: if he was to pretend to all and sundry that he was Jewish, he could then experience the degree of racism and prejudice that exists and write his story from that perspective. It takes little time for him to experience bigotry. He soon learns the liberal-minded firm he works for doesn’t hire Jews and that his own secretary changed her name and kept the fact that she is Jewish a secret from everyone. Green soon finds that he won’t be invited to certain parties, that he cannot stay in so-called ‘restricted’ hotels and that his own son is called names in the street. His anger at the way he is treated also affects his relationship with Kathy Lacy, his publisher’s niece and the person who suggested the series in the first place. –IMDb
Kazan was born Elias Kazancoglu in Istanbul to a Greek father from Kayseri, Turkey and a Greek mother from Istanbul, where her family were cotton merchants who imported cotton from Manchester, England, and sold it wholesale in Istanbul to various merchants, both Greek and Turkish, who took the goods out to the provinces. His family emigrated to the United States in 1913 and settled in New York City, where his father, George Kazanjoglu, became a rug merchant. Kazan’s father expected that his son would go into the family business, but his mother, Athena (née Sismanoglou), encouraged Kazan to make his own decisions. His family name ‘Kazanjoglou’ (an alternate spelling is Kazantzoglou) is Turkish, meaning “The son of a cauldron maker”, where the root word ‘kazan’ means cauldron or boiler. It was and still is common to find people of Greek, Jewish, Assyrian, Armenian, and Kurdish lineage with Turkish family names or where the root words in the names are uniquely Turkish.
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I'm not used to getting hit over the head by brilliance this quickly or hard. I'm not used to it. Fuck you Elia Kazan, fuck you, you are too talented, your films are too timely and perfect rendered. I don't know what you guys are talking about. This film is not dated or preachy. Anti-semitism is still alive and well today-- imagine what it was like in 1940's America. Shit was rough. This movie had balls. (9.7/10)
anglo-saxon pretends to be jewish for a week so he can write an article about the prejudice jews experience. possibility of just getting an actual jew to write the article never occurs to anyone. zero stars
The book is excellent. It's hard to find nowadays...the film is pretty good, typical of Kazan and Hollywood, full of lofty speeches and the great white American male (of course Gregory Peck)...so while a bit annoyingly typical, still kind of interesting and inspiring. Laura Hobson's book is much more complex and doesn't have the typical characters like the film. Book also has an intriguing undercurrent of feminism