Pinky

1949

Drama

1
Rotten Tomatoes Critics - Rotten 57%
Rotten Tomatoes Audience - Upright 71%
IMDb Rating 7.2 10 2904

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Synopsis


Uploaded By: FREEMAN
May 20, 2021 at 08:14 AM

Director

Cast

Ethel Barrymore as Miss Em
Juanita Moore as Nurse
Pat Walshe as Minor Role
Arthur Hunnicutt as Police Chief Anderson
720p.BLU
936.09 MB
1280*944
English 2.0
NR
23.976 fps
1 hr 41 min
P/S 0 / 7

Movie Reviews

Reviewed by blanche-2 9 / 10

Top-notch all the way

Black people "passing for white" was not a new topic for Hollywood in 1949. It was part of the plot of "Imitation of Life" in 1934, but in that film, an actual black actress, Fredi Washington, played the role of the young woman who "passes" in the white world. In 1949, there were two films dealing with this issue: "Pinky" and "Lost Boundaries," and in both cases, the black person was played by a white actor.

"Pinky" stars Jeanne Crain as Pinky Johnson, a black woman who looks white, so much so that she when she studies nursing in New York, she easily enters the white world and becomes involved with a white doctor who wants to marry her. Needing time to think over her situation, she returns home, which is a shack where her grandmother (Ethel Waters) lives in a black section of their southern town. There she is reminded of the prejudice and cruelty she left. When her grandmother asks her to care for an elderly white woman (Ethel Barrymore), hostility between patient and nurse leads to an uneasy bond.

This is a brilliant film all the way, magnificently directed by Elia Kazan and produced by Darryl F. Zanuck, who loved taking on these controversial social issues. The acting is superb: Jeanne Crain gives the best performance of her career as a woman who comes to grips with her true identity. She is so dignified as she walks through the town, soft-spoken yet strong, refusing to come down to the level of those around her. Ethel Barrymore is the elderly terminally ill woman Pinky reluctantly agrees to care for, and she nearly steals the movie with a no-nonsense performance. She's a woman set in her ways and opinions, but she's fair person who can see the human soul. It's probably the best drawn character in the film.

As a teen-aged fan of "Route 66," I can well remember the publicity around the show when Ethel Waters guest-starred. Of course white teens in the '60s had no idea of who she was or the circumstances of her life and career. Yet to this day I can remember her on that show. Forty years later, thankfully, I have an appreciation of her place in history and her work. Waters gives a powerful performance. Her character has accepted her lot in life but sacrifices everything so that her grandchild can have a better one. In her world, white men have the power, and you can clearly see her belief manifested in her courtroom demeanor.

The casting of Jeanne Crain is a sticking point here but not really when looked at in the context of the 1940s. Even with this casting, this is a bold movie, uncompromising in its depiction of white attitudes and racial slurs. It is just a pity that at the time of the filming, Fredi Washington was 45 years old and actually no longer in films. Washington looked so white that she was told by producers that if she would agree to "pass" and play white roles, she could have a career equal to that of Norma Shearer. She refused, and in order to play black women, she had to darken her skin. Lena Horne was deemed not white-looking enough. I suggest that the same is true for the beautiful Dorothy Dandridge. There may have been black actresses who looked white enough to play this role, but would anyone have answered such a casting call? Most importantly, "Pinky" would not have been made without Jeanne Crain, because Zanuck wanted her to do it, and it's a film that deserved making. The other sticking point in the film is Pinky's fiancée, a white doctor. His easy acceptance of her as black - and the fact that she kept it from him - is a weakness in the script. This was done perhaps to highlight that he wanted to her to continue to pass for white, therefore making it clear that Pinky has to the make the decision, but the scenario does not seem believable.

You can predict the ending of "Pinky," and despite complaints that it's a typically neat Hollywood one, I found it immensely satisfying as I found the entire experience of watching this truly classic film, "Pinky."

Reviewed by Doylenf 8 / 10

Sincere drama of racial bigotry with outstanding performances...

Elia Kazan took over the helm of PINKY when John Ford requested replacement as having no real interest in the story. He not only took over, but he did a superb job.

Personally, it took awhile for me to get over the idea of casting JEANNE CRAIN as a light-skinned black, but she does some of her best work here. Same can be said of Ethel Waters and Ethel Barrymore, and not surprisingly, all three actresses were nominated for Oscars. Undoubtedly, all benefited by Kazan's firm direction.

The story is essentially written to show the racial bigotry that existed (and still does) in many parts of the South. Without going into plot development, let's say the ending is a bit predictable, but the film still remains powerful and sensitive in its treatment of the subject matter.

In 1949, this was a daring film for Fox to make, risking the possibility of hurting the reputation of its most popular box-office star at that time, Jeanne Crain. But credit goes to Darryl F. Zanuck for permitting his studio to make films like THE SNAKE PIT and GENTLEMAN'S AGREEMENT, risky and controversial. The box-office results and critical acclaim justified the risk.

Well worth seeing, absorbing and sensitive.

Reviewed by DAHLRUSSELL 10 / 10

A truly Great Film - a woman's film that rivals Peck's "Mockingbird"

We'll know we've "arrived" when people can get past the casting of Jeanne Crain as a woman of color. There ARE mixed race women who are as light as Jeanne Crain, but because of the "one drop rule," in 1949 they were, and often still today are -considered "black." In today's multi-cultural society these women often embrace their heritage, but the issues they face remain sadly the same today in many facets. Example: African Americans who are educated are often told they are "talking white."

There is a reason that "she's passing" became an understood term. Very light skinned women & men in the early part of the 1900s DID try to do what Pinky here does.

I was really encouraged to see the scene with Nina Mae McKinney next to Frederick O'Neal, next to Jeanne Crain, all playing "black folks." THAT is the reality of miscegenation in the South, and that is what people still have trouble with: sometimes race is not just black and white. It is uncomfortable and true. (McKinney is marvelous, and fills every second of her screen time, whether she is removing a pebble from her shoe or coyly playing piano on top of a fence.)

I sadly find this film completely relevant today. These conversations of segregation and intermarriage are STILL going strong. There are African Americans who talk about "white women taking our men" or people of all races saying, "stay with your own race." This is segregationist, this is racist, and it still exists very strongly in all racial communities.

Dorothy Dandridge and Lena Horne- both beautiful & talented - are often mentioned as possible contenders for this role. They simply were NOT light enough to pass for white, it hampered their careers, and they have both acknowledged that. Hollywood in general likes their races obvious, casting is still largely done by type and stereotype, no matter what race – even today it would be hard to find an actress of stature who identifies herself as black, but who can totally pass as white; the market doesn't hire these women.

Type casting is still the norm. Even my dark skinned actress friends have been told they don't "talk black enough" in auditions. Ethel Waters and Ethel Barrimore here, both fine actresses at the top of their game, were both type cast here in roles that they've basically played several times before; it is only the script context that made this special.

Jeanne Crain had enormous courage to portray this role. Not only is she perpetually faulted for being a white woman playing this role, but she risked her career, some people questioned her heritage in a racist age. That is a tribute to the reality and sensitivity she brought to the role, and her acting, which is often maligned because she had reserve. Her "under acting" is actually the preferred style today in TV and film. She was ahead of her time.

Part of why Crain is not liked much today is that she was a 40s type that is not valued today. Restrained, ladylike, mature in mindset, "high minded" - this is what she represented, and these things are not looked for in leading ladies today. What she represents has gone out of fashion; it was going out of fashion even then, and Kazan valued grittier, dirtier types like Brando. Kazan, who initially labeled her an impassive beauty queen, eventually credited her fine work.

This movie is sensitively done in all respects with really great performances top to bottom. It is not glossy or simple, neither race is solely good or solely bad. It is a disservice to have the only DVD commentary done by someone who clearly still does not like the film and doesn't appreciate the complexity of Crain's work here. That a New Yorker thought the court trial didn't look real because people were all fanning themselves shows he has never spent time in the south in a public gathering place.

This film is galling and aggravating, and unfortunately still very real. This is not a fun film, it is a great film, that speaks just as much to attitudes held today as it did then.

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