Pinky

  • 1949
  • Movie
  • NR
  • Drama

Producer Darryl F. Zanuck, who had attacked anti-Semitism in GENTLEMAN'S AGREEMENT in 1947, tackled the subject of prejudice against African Americans in this film. Crain plays the eponymous Pinky (a term used in the black community to described those whose complexions are light enough that they can pass for white), a bright young woman who has been studying...read more

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Producer Darryl F. Zanuck, who had attacked anti-Semitism in GENTLEMAN'S AGREEMENT in 1947, tackled the subject of prejudice against African Americans in this film. Crain plays the eponymous Pinky (a term used in the black community to described those whose complexions are light enough

that they can pass for white), a bright young woman who has been studying nursing at a school in New England. Lundigan, a white physician, would like to marry her, but Crain believes the interracial union could never work, suspects Lundigan of being more "tolerant" than committed, and is unwilling

to be absorbed into the white world. Sadly, she leaves and returns to the southern town of her birth. Crain's grandmother, Waters, works for feisty dowager Barrymore, and when the old woman becomes ill, Crain becomes her nurse and stays on until her death. Barrymore leaves her estate to Crain, but

her family contests the legacy because Crain is black, claiming that Crain exerted undue influence on the dying Barrymore. The dispute is taken to court, where Crain wins the estate. Afterwards, she turns it into a nursing home and school for blacks. Zanuck initially asked John Ford to direct

PINKY, but he was reportedly relieved, nevertheless, when Ford (who didn't get along with actress Waters and felt little enthusiasm for the story) asked to be taken off the picture two weeks into shooting, since Zanuck had misgivings about Ford's ability to create credible black characters. After

Ford's exit, Zanuck immediately called in Elia Kazan; eight weeks later the film was completed, Ford's footage totally scrapped. Today, PINKY is still remarkable for its sincerity and directness, especially when one considers its date of origin. This is a mature film, with great respect for the

humanity of people who are able to transcend social barriers and care for one another. Crain, Waters, and Barrymore all received Oscar nominations for their performances.

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  • Rating: NR
  • Review: Producer Darryl F. Zanuck, who had attacked anti-Semitism in GENTLEMAN'S AGREEMENT in 1947, tackled the subject of prejudice against African Americans in this film. Crain plays the eponymous Pinky (a term used in the black community to described those whos… (more)

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