April 4, 2010

Pinky (1949)

Jeanne Crain, Ethel Waters and Ethel Barrymore were rightfully nominated for Academy Awards (Actress, Supporting Actress and Supporting Actress, respectively) for Pinky, a predictable but sincere look at racism in the United States. Considering the time it was made, the story of a light-skinned black woman returning to her southern home town does not shy away from controversial issues but, the film does have some controversial issues of its own (casting a white actress to play the central black character, stereotypical characterizations on both sides of the color spectrum, pat situations, and a predictable Hollywood ending, for example). Still, director Elia Kazan's use of light, shadows and the camera (in general) and good supporting performances (including but not limited to Evelyn Varden and Nina Mae McKinney) still make the film a worthwhile experience.