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December 15, 1989 - Image 31

Resource type:
Text
Publication:
The Detroit Jewish News, 1989-12-15

Disclaimer: Computer generated plain text may have errors. Read more about this.

A

ccent on sophistication

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powerful appeal of sophistication. When you need a distinctive gift, Greenstone's
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GREENSTONE'S

A scene fronm the 1943 "The Moon Is Down." Like most other
Hollywood movies about the war, "The Moon Is Down" made a clear
distinction between Nazis and the rest of the German people.

lieutenant is shown to be a
sensitive man much
different from other Nazis
brutes.
Most Nazis come across as
"very sophisticated but evil,
cruel but cultured" accor-
ding to Oak Park High's
Silverman. They often are
shown as elegant officers,
complete with a monocle.
The Italians and Japanese,
however, all came from the
same Hollywood mold. When
portrayed at all, Italians
generally appear inept,
Koppes says. Most World
War II movies about the
Japanese are racist, with all
Japanese shown as vicious,
he says.
Jews also made an ap-
pearance in a limited
number of early 1940s films.
They were soldiers in the
U.S. Army who, in a unit
with Italian-Americans and
blacks, were fighting for
freedom, justice and the
American way.

'Gentleman's
Agreement'

I

t was not until 1955 that
the first film dealing
directly with Nazi
atrocities was made, Gomez
says. Called Night and Fog,
the 30-minute film was pro-
duced by a gentile.
It, like most other
Holocaust films including
Mr. Klein, The Sorrow and
the Pity, The Fifth Horseman

Is Fear and Memory of
Justice, was made in Europe.
Only in the 1970s, with
films like Sophie's Choice
and numerous made-for-
television dramas like the
mini-series Holocaust, would
the United States begin to
address the Holocaust.
Some critics suggest the
sudden appearance of films
dealing with the Nazi
persecution of Jews is the
result of the public's readi-
ness to deal with the subject.
Thus, movies about the
Holocaust will bring in a
goodprofit.
They also note that
Hollywood no longer
operates under the old
system, as it did in 1940.
One man's whims do not dic-
tate the content of any one
studio's films.
In the aftermath of World
War II, U.S. film makers
catered to the public's desire
to see anything but more
suffering. Instead of the
Holocaust, Hollywood for the
first time addressed anti-
Semitism in the United
States.
The most famous of these
films is the 194 7
Gentleman's Agreement, the
Academy Award-winner
film in which Gregory Peck
portrays a journalist who
pretends to be Jewish so he
can experience anti-
Semitism for himself.
Jewish organizations were
less than receptive to such

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THE DETROIT JEWISH NEWS

31

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