Monday, February 27, 2017

Pinky

Racial passing is a subject matter that interests me and Pinky, a film from 1949, deals with this issue. I have never seen it, but plan to watch it this week for research purposes. Pinky is a race drama about a light-skinned black woman passing as white. For more about the film and the plot, click here

One of the controversies regarding the film was the casting of white actress Jeanne Crane to play the title role. Black actress Lena Horne had wanted the part, but having a white actress as Pinky with audience appeal and monetary pull led to the casting of Miss Crane. (In my opinion, since the actress had to be white, I would have chosen Jennifer Jones. She could have more realistically passed for black, again, just my opinion.)

Anyway, here's another interesting fact about the movie from Turner Classic Movies:

[A] major change in the production of Pinky was the director. [Director] John Ford left the film after only a week of shooting that was so traumatic [black co-star] Ethel Waters described it as a "shock treatment", with Ford's abrasive personality making her "almost have a stroke". [Producer] Zanuck was unhappy with the rushes he saw. 
Jeanne Crane
"Ford's Negroes were like Aunt Jemima caricatures. I thought we're going to get into trouble. Jack said, 'I think you'd better put someone else on it." Ford was replaced with Elia Kazan, who had made Gentleman's Agreement (1947), another racially-themed film for the studio, and earning it an Academy Award in the process. The official reason for John Ford's departure was listed as a bad case of the shingles, which Kazan later admitted was a lie. 
Lena Horne
"He pretended to have shingles. Some years later I said to Zanuck, 'Jack Ford never had shingles, did he?' And he said, 'Oh, hell, no. He just wanted to get out of it; he hated Ethel Waters and she sure as hell hated him.' Jack scared her to death and he knew she didn't want to work with him. I also think maybe he didn't like the whole project. Anyway, Zanuck wired me and asked if I'd come out. I wired back, 'I'll do it as a favor.' Firstly, I threw away whatever Ford had shot. It was poor. It showed a lack of interest and involvement. So, all the footage was mine. The only things that were not mine, which are a hell of a lot, were the script and the cast. It was the last time I ever allowed that. Jeanne Crain was a sweet girl, but she was like a Sunday school teacher. I did my best with her but she didn't have any fire. The only good thing about her face was that it went so far in the direction of no temperament that you felt Pinky was floating through all of her experiences without reacting to them, which is part of what 'passing' is." 
Jennifer Jones
Have you ever seen Pinky? If so, what did you think?

Thanks for visiting and have a great week!

6 comments:

William Kendall said...

I can't recall ever hearing about it.

Maria McKenzie said...

I don't think it was ever very popular. I never even saw it on TV.

Norma Beishir said...

I'd never heard of it, either.

Maria McKenzie said...

It wasn't exactly another Gentleman's Agreement;).

lloyd1927 said...


"Pinky" was both WHITE and mixed-race. To call her a "black," "Negro," etc. is the same as confirming the inferiority of the "race" you people claim to champion. Like "Imitation of Life," "Pinky" uses the "mammy" figure to enforce the "one drop rule" nonsense and confirm that the racial caste system is of divine origin.

Anyone who LOOKS white IS white. Otherwise, you are agreeing that non-white (and especially "black") genes are indeed inferior and that the "white race" needs "racial purity" to survive. That would put you in agreement with every doctrine of "white" or "Aryan" racial supremacy.

Ask yourselves why this "black blood" nonsense is not thrown in the faces of Latinos and Arabs. Nearly all of them share some part of the supposedly dreaded "black" genes.


White Racial Identity, Racial Mixture, and the "One Drop Rule"

http://multiracial.com/index.php/2004/09/01/white-racial-identity-racial-mixture-and-the-one-drop-rule/

Maria McKenzie said...

Hello, Lloyd1927,

Thank you for your comment.