Pinky. Starring Jeanne Crain in the title role, Pinky tells the story of a light-skinned black woman who returns to the Southern home of her grandmother after passing for white while living in the North as a nursing student. In addition to facing the everyday problems that came with being black in the South, Pinky also has to deal with such complications as the return of the man she loves (a white doctor she met while studying up North) and a nasty courtroom battle.
Although I would have liked it if Lena Horne (who campaigned for the role) was given the chance to play the lead, I understand why 20th Century Fox went with Jeanne Crain instead. Money talks and Crain was one of the studio's biggest stars at the time. Also, it was 1949 and a majority of moviegoers weren't ready for a film that featured love scenes between a black actress and a white actor. Having said that, Crain does a fine job as Pinky (earning an Academy Award nomination for Best Actress). Along with being believable, Crain also demonstrates fearlessness and dignity in the title role. Also earning Oscar noms were two Ethels (Waters as Pinky's wise grandmother and Barrymore as a sickly rich woman who is cared for by Pinky). In addition to these three, the cast is solid throughout. Some of the standouts include Frederick O'Neal as a shady character who lives near Pinky and her grandmother, Evelyn Varden as a racist relative of Barrymore's character, and Dan Riss as an attorney.
Although I've seen Pinky numerous times, I am really looking forward to checking it out again because it's been several years. If you've already seen Pinky or plan to watch it Wednesday night, feel free to share your thoughts in the comments section.
Below is the opening scene of Pinky.