Week 9 Emma Monaghan

I was looking to forward to watch this film, knowing that it discussed racial prejudice, which is still, unfortunately, a controversial film and popular media subject today and most definitely in 1947. I was interested to see how this subject was approached but was pleasantly surprised by the film and its handling of the subject of antisemitism in America. The film is set in the 1940s, then present-day, Manhattan and follows Phil Green, his son, and mother. Green is a journalist who has been assigned a project regarding antisemitism and when discussing and struggling with the project and mentions needing data and facts which enrages his editor saying they needed a new approach. Green becomes romantically involved with Kathy Lacy, who is working at the same publication and becomes involved in Green’s plan to address this subject. Green decides to tackle this subject from a very interesting angle, stating that he will “be Jewish” for a period of time to be able to write this piece. In this film, we as viewers follow along as Green faces the adversities that he would face as a Jewish man in New York, and all over America at this time. One main experience I noted was him facing the restrictions of the hotel, Green made a reservation at a hotel knowing that they enforced restrictions discriminating against Jewish people on the grounds that they were for an “elite” audience. When he went to check in he asked if they had these restrictions to which he was later denied his reservation already made and confirmed due to a “mistake” of overbooking, which is clearly a lie. When this ‘angle’ begins to affect Green’s son who is taunted, called derogatory slurs, and bullied when his classmates and peers hear that he is “Jewish” and comes home distraught and crying to his father. At this point, Green calls out Kathy not for being antisemitic but for not actively being against antisemitism, and they end their relationship but I think this is seen now as an issue in present-day America. 

The reaction of the individuals that did not know that Green was actually a Christian shows the way that the rest of the country would react but also on a personal level. His first reveal was to his secretary who would type up the piece, she was shocked but Green became emotional and passionate when saying to her that he is “the same person I was yesterday” and urging that they are “All the same. The same flesh.” as a Jewish person and a Christian person. I was especially drawn to the interaction between Green and his mother after she had read the article, she read off the portion regarding the hotel in which he wrote “I know how every woman feels when they are told a job was filled when they knew it was not. And of young people who are denied from college and camps” and continued with other groups often discriminated against. The content of this film is clearly still prevalent in America today and I noted the quote from Green’s mother, who had been sick throughout the film, in which she said “I want to live to be very old. Very. I want to be around to see what happens.” going on to say that she is hopeful that this will become “Everybody’s generation” and the world would become equal for everyone regardless of race.

4 thoughts on “Week 9 Emma Monaghan

  1. I thought it was interesting that the movie continually mentioned and referenced people being rejected for positions due to their names, because that is still such a relevant issue today. I have an aunt who did not change her last name when she married because employers might have thought she was Asian and she did not want it to limit her opportunities. I find it a little disheartening that so many of the issues from the film are still issues today.

  2. I found the scene when Dave tells Phil that when they get to your kids to be very powerful as well. Dave says to Phil he had to explain to his kids why they weren’t allowed in summer camp and that it was difficult to explain. As well at the beginning of the film, Phil finds it difficult to explain the roots of anti-Semitism to Tommy. I think these scenes really highlight how embedded racism and xenophobia are in American society.

  3. I heard of this movie before like you have, but finally I got this chance to watch it. and boy was it a period piece. The anti-Semitism that is on display, particularly with his army buddy and his son is what makes this movie such a good example. Overall an interesting pieces.

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