Monday, December 13, 2010

Where Mad Men came from

Pursuing my hobby of watching old movies, last night I watched The Man in the Gray Flannel Suit, starring Gregory Peck. Vintage ~ 1956 and based on a book by Sloane Wilson. It was one of those Darryl Zanuck productions from the vintage years of Hollywood. It was well written, clearly spoken and with high production values in Technicolor.

Above all it was about integrity. An ordinary office worker in a safe job earning $7000 a year (those were the days) is persuaded by his financial circumstances to go for a riskier job making $10,000. He constantly has to face challenges to his integrity. By being honest he benefits even when the easy way would be to obfuscate and 'game' the situation. In this he is supported and even cajoled into honesty by his wife played by Jennifer Jones. (Minor parts are played by Fredric March, Lee J Cobb and Keenan Wynne). Then he is confronted by the fact that he has a son in Italy - the product of an illicit affair during the war. Now, there is a test for his integrity. Should he tell his wife? And if he does, how would she, who was so keen on honesty, react?

They don't make films like that any more.

2 comments:

Anonymous said...

I've not seen the movie. But it's interesting that my mom knew Jennifer Jones slightly. She said she was a bright, funny and (obviously) a beautiful woman.

I do really like 'Mad Men', and I've certainly heard about the film. I should make a point of watching it.

People these days don't have as much integrity, IMO.

Concerned Neighbor said...

The book is also good.