Uncertain Glory! Examined by Karl Holmberg!

28 Feb

The following is part of a personal email exchange between myself, Gentleman Tim, and Karl Holmberg that yielded a treasure that Karl kindly allowed me to share with the blog. Here is part of the email and a link to download an amazing piece of writing done by Karl Holmberg several years ago.


Karl Holmberg:

I remember reading that it was announced in the press that Flynn was being considered for the role of Johnny Nolan and the player (James Dunn) went on to receive a Best Supporting Oscar in A Tree Grows In Brooklyn (1945).

It would have been the 2nd (The Sisters being the first) time in his then career that he would play a drunk. Directed by Elia Kazan, 20th Century Fox, release date February 1945 could have overlapped working on Uncertain Glory (August- October 1943; rd: April 1944) or Objective Burma (Filming May- August 1944; rd: February 1945) … though it seems Flynn usually (?) worked on 1 at a time. “Tree Grows” would have been his 1st outside studio production and also would have possibly have had a Thomson Productions credit?
I remember some studio (?) having some fun with the title where a dog/dogs see the title and start running (from NYC?) to Brooklyn.
I attach another antique (August 2004) effort that mentions the Thomson Productions deal … fleshing it out a little better.
This was written in the style of what might have been a script for a commentary while the movie was playing, only I DIDN’T KNOW IT… and had no awareness that it could even be done. My intent was to highlight a relatively little played film (just as Don’t Bet On Blondes) and give people some idea about it. I even remember not knowing what SPOILER ALERT meant back then… hence, no warning.
Spoiler alert: it’s VERY long winded!
Copyright 2004 Karl Holmberg
Sir Karl, our heartfelt thanks!

— David DeWitt


Posted in Films


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  1. Gentleman Tim

    February 29, 2016 at 9:19 am

    Ce qu’est une oeuvre glorieuse, Karl. Merci beaucoup!


  2. rswilltell

    February 29, 2016 at 2:37 pm

    ‘A Tree Grows In Brooklyn’ is a masterpiece and reflects the best of Hollywood. Yes Errol Flynn would have loved playing such a plum role. Even so James Dunn (a leading man from the 1930’s now fading away) was magnificent as Johnny Nolan. Unfortunately Dunn’s Oscar was a curse and his career continue to skid over the next twenty years. This first-rate actor kept his career barely alive through television and a handful of films. Karl is right. He is referring to a Looney Tunes cartoon where Bugs Bunny is cornered by a pack of hungry dogs. In desperation he picks up a hardcover book to defend himself. The dogs freeze in their tracks. They see the title and immediately turn tail to cross the Brooklyn Bridge. Bugs is stunned and looks at the title ‘A Tree Grows In Brooklyn’! Bugs opens the book and begins to read while whistling to an old New York tune on Brooklyn! Ralph Schiller

    • Gentleman Tim

      March 1, 2016 at 4:10 am

      Thank you Karl & Ralph:

      Dunn did indeed do a magnificent job. Remembering some similar old time Brooklynites, this movie and his performances really touches my heart/brings a flood of memories.

      And this Looney Tune is terrific in every regard, story, script, artwork, animation, sound effects, and musical score, with Rosie O’Grady being especially wonderful. As New Yorkers (and fans of the book) know, however, if you want to visit the tree that was growing in Brooklyn, you should cross the Willliamsburg Bridge, not the Brooklyn Bridge – but That’s Entertainment!…