Pinky

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(out of 5)


Years after she was sent away to nursing school to avoid the fate of her washer-woman grandmother (legendary singer ), Pinky () returns to her Southern home a graduate who is running away from a serious problem.  Her extremely light skin allows her to pass for white among those who don’t know her, a situation that we find out she exploited while living in the north and having a love affair with a medical doctor. Now that she has returned she is faced with a crisis of identity: return to the lowly status that she is afforded as an African American who lives in the shack below ‘s crumbling mansion, or go back north, pass for white again and reap the benefits of society.  This Elia Kazan film is a rich, highly engaging soap opera from beginning to end, a film that grabs you from its opening scene and never lets go despite its many shifts in plot. Waters turns in an emotionally affecting performance, while Barrymore shines as the impoverished former Southern belle whose house is now a mausoleum of a time gone by. The film is a schizophrenic accomplishment in itself, a powerful statement against racism in America that is itself a proponent of segregation: Lena Horne campaigned quite hard for the lead role, her famously light complexion making her a perfect fit, but producers were too nervous to show a black woman, of whatever shade, kissing a white man, and cast Crain instead. With her touches of makeup to make her look more the part, Crain is never fully convincing physically, but she does turn in a rounded, engaging performance that carries the entire film with ease. Elia Kazan contributes some of the most effective directing of his career in this extremely satisfying work.


USA, 1949

Directed by

Screenplay by , , based on the novel by

Cinematography by

Produced by

Music by

Production Design by

Costume Design by

Film Editing by


Cast Tags:  , , , , , , , , , , , ,


Academy Award Nominations
Best Actress (Jeanne Crain as “Pinky”)
Best Actress in a Supporting Role (Ethel Barrymore as “Miss Em”)
Best Actress in a Supporting Role (Ethel Waters as “Granny”)

Writers Guild Award Nomination
The Robert Meltzer Award (Screenplay Dealing Most Ably with Problems Of the American Scene)


tumblr_o5t8e00ezl1uwp6gyo1_1280Pinky

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