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SUBJECTS — U.S./1945 - 1991 & Diversity;
SOCIAL-EMOTIONAL LEARNING — Male & Female Role Model; Parenting
MORAL-ETHICAL EMPHASIS — Respect.
Age: 12+; Not Rated; Drama; 1947; 118 minutes; B & W.
The year is 1947. Phil Green, a journalist, has been hired by a popular magazine to write a series of articles about anti-Semitism in the U.S. He decides to pretend that he is Jewish and to record the reactions of the people he meets. While preparing the series, Phil meets Kathy Lacey, the niece of his publisher. It was Kathy who had initially proposed the series of articles. She and Phil fall in love, but they find that Kathy has subtle and previously hidden anti-Semitic feelings. These are unacceptable to Phil, who believes that prejudice in all its forms is evil. Gentlemen's Agreement is the story of Phil's experiences in writing the series and how he and Kathy try to resolve their differences.
The lessons of Gentlemen's Agreement are not limited to anti-Semitism but apply to any type of prejudice. It builds on our empathy with Phil, the crusading journalist, and Kathy, a woman torn between the attitudes of her class and what she knows is right. We are led to respect and like them both. As Kathy discovers her own prejudice, we come to understand how easily bigotry and insensitivity can creep into our own attitudes. When Phil makes it clear that he will not marry Kathy unless she changes, we empathize with her struggle to rid herself of prejudice. When she triumphs we are shown that like Kathy, we can eliminate prejudice in ourselves.
Because of its skillful use of a dramatic device to help its viewers to reconcile inconsistent parts of their own personalities, Gentlemen's Agreement rates as one of the best films ever made.
The TeachWithMovies.com Learning Guide to this film will show teachers how to guide children to understand how easily bigotry and insensitivity can creep into our own attitudes and how to root it out.
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Gentlemen's Agreement offers a prescription for eliminating racial and religous prejudice in your own life and the lives of your students. Its message is not limited to anti-Semitism.
Learning Guide Excerpt
To demonstrate how our Learning Guides can be used by teachers to improve lesson plans, we have set out below a paragraph from the Learning Guide to Gentleman's Agreement.
Prejudice against different races, ethnicities and other religions, once learned, is one of the hardest attitudes to change. Total elimination of prejudice is a lifelong project and even for mature adults who have spent years working to eliminate prejudice in their attitudes, it will crop up when they least expect it.
The Learning Guide to the film Gentleman's Agreement contains sections on Benefits of the Movie, Possible Problems, Helpful Background, Discussion Questions, Links to the Internet, and Bridges to Reading. The Discussion Questions are divided into three categories: Subject Matter, Social-Emotional Learning, and Moral-Ethical Emphasis.
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