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A Tree Grows in Brooklyn


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Product Details

  • Actors: Dorothy McGuire, Joan Blondell, James Dunn, Lloyd Nolan, James Gleason
  • Directors: Elia Kazan
  • Writers: Anita Loos, Betty Smith, Frank Davis, Tess Slesinger
  • Producers: Louis D. Lighton
  • Format: Import, PAL
  • Language: English (Dolby Digital 2.0), Spanish (Dolby Digital 2.0)
  • Subtitles: English, Spanish
  • Region: All Regions
  • Number of discs: 1
  • Rated: Unrated
  • Run Time: 129 minutes
  • Average Customer Review: 4.7 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (198 customer reviews)
  • ASIN: B000AYW590
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #544,535 in Movies & TV (See Top 100 in Movies & TV)
  • Learn more about "A Tree Grows in Brooklyn" on IMDb

Special Features

None.

Editorial Reviews

Spain released, PAL/Region 0 DVD: it WILL NOT play on standard US DVD player. You need multi-region PAL/NTSC DVD player to view it in USA/Canada: LANGUAGES: English ( Dolby Digital 2.0 ), Spanish ( Dolby Digital 2.0 ), English ( Subtitles ), Spanish ( Subtitles ), SPECIAL FEATURES: Black & White, Interactive Menu, Scene Access, SYNOPSIS: Based on the best-selling novel by Betty Smith, the film relates the trials and tribulations of a turn-of-the-century Brooklyn tenement family. The father, Dunn, is a likable but irresponsible alcoholic whose dreams of improving his family's lot are invariably doomed to disappointment. The mother, Dorothy McGuire, is the true head of the household, steadfastly holding the family together no matter what crisis arises. The story is told from the point of view of daughter Peggy Ann Garner, a clear-eyed realist who nonetheless would like to believe in her pie-in-the-sky father, whom she dearly loves. Joan Blondell co-stars as the family's brash, freewheeling aunt, whose means of financial support is a never-ending source of neighborhood gossip. This first film directorial effort of Elia Kazan earned a special Oscar for 'Most Promising Juvenile Performer' Peggy Ann Garner. SCREENED/AWARDED AT: Oscar Academy Awards, ...A Tree Grows in Brooklyn

Customer Reviews

It's a great movie & I watch every year for as many years as I can remember.
Edith P. Claffey
Peggy Ann Garner is unforgettable as Francie, as are James Dunn, Dorothy McGuire, Joan Blondell and Lloyd Nolan as various family members and neighbors.
Miles D. Moore
There are moments in this film when even those who never cry at the movies will be moved to tears.
Bobby Underwood

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

133 of 136 people found the following review helpful By Bobby Underwood VINE VOICE on March 29, 2005
Format: VHS Tape Verified Purchase
Betty Smith's heartfelt and timeless novel of a young girl's passage through her youth in the Brooklyn slums was transformed by director Elia Kazan into one of the most touching and deeply felt films ever made. It has that rare ability to break your heart one moment and make you smile the next. There is a tenderness here that has rarely been captured on film. Many point to Elia Kazan's flashier films, but it was this sentimental film that was his crowning achievement. There are moments in this film when even those who never cry at the movies will be moved to tears.

Peggy Ann Garner was so wonderful as the young and sensitive Francie, the Academy gave her an Oscar for Most Promising Juvenile Performer. James Dunn garnered an Oscar also as Francie's loving father, Johnny Nolan, a singing waiter with a gift for dreaming he passes on to Francie, who wants to be a writer. Francie's papa makes their hard life worth living and she worships him. He understands and adores her.

But when he isn't working, Johnny is usually drunk. Everyone in their poor neighborhood knows Johnny is a good man, however, and loves and respects him. He is the one who will find a way for Francie to attend the school she dreams of, even though it is far from their home. Francie's mother is the only one who doesn't seem to see how special Johnny is.

Dorothy McGuire gives another terrific performance as Francie's hard working mother, Katie, who tries desparately not to love her boy Neely more than Francie, and fails; tries desparately not to become bitter with the charming lad she married in her youth, but can't; and tries desparately not to let her heart grow cold and hard, and fails once more.
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62 of 64 people found the following review helpful By Paul Sayles on September 24, 2001
Format: VHS Tape
A Tree Grows in Brooklyn is a movie that will hit a lot of people in many ways. For me, it is a reminder of my strong willed mother, alcoholic father and free-spirited brother. I think, like Francie, I was my father's friend more than I was his son. I would listen to his stories, wait up for my parents when they had gone to a party to make sure they got home ok, listen to my mother raking my father for his drinking and cringing as dad just sat there.

The casting is outstanding and makes the movie work. Not just the major roles, but the smaller ones too are exceptionally casted. Put someone else in as the junkman and it might not work as well. Another person in the role of the doctor signing the death certificate may leave a different and lesser impression. Lloyn Nolan, Dorothy McGuire and James Dunn were all inspiried choices. Joan Blondell was a brilliant choice as Aunt Sissy, her of many husbands but still with a element of humanity that has stuck with her.

There are many memorable scenes but some have a deeper and lasting meaning. A young girl named Flossie is showing off her new dress to all passers by. After a few moments it is apparent that Flossie is not well. Later when we learn she has died, McGuire tells Dunn that she'll have to buried in potter's field. Dunn hits the right tone, as in a resolute voice he reminds his wife that her parents did the right thing while she was alive by getting her new dresses. Good for dad!

The other scene that hits me every time I see it, is the scene when after dad has died, Francie goes around and collects his shaving mug from the barber and puts it is a box under her bed. She still has a part of him!

Dad's posthumous graduation gift to Francie is one of the most moving scenes I've ever witnessed.
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36 of 37 people found the following review helpful By "scotsladdie" on July 29, 2002
Format: VHS Tape
Having never read the Betty Smith novel, I cannot state how true this 1945 film was to its original source; but I do think it makes for quality heartfelt entertainment. As Francine, Peggy Ann Garner plays her role with an amazing display of natural unaffected intelligence uncommon in child actors of her era; hers is a wonderfully tear-jerking performance. Dorothy McGuire is fine as Francine's long-suffering mother Katie (something about her seemed a bit too classy for her character at times, but nothing to wreck another excellent portrayal). As the illiterate, rather loose-loving - and intensely likeable - Aunt Cissy, Joan Blondell does justice to her role. Blondell later wrote that there was originally a scene where children were playing outside on the street and find a tin full of condoms; curious, they went to Cissy for explainations. Blondell claimed the scene in which she lovingly explained about life and love to the children was the best she ever did - naturally, it was deemed too distasteful for release! As Johnny, the alcoholic singing waiter father whom Francine adores, James Dunn won himself a deserved AA. A poignantly (and fairly realistic) study of a struggling family living in Brooklyn way back when.
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34 of 35 people found the following review helpful By R. Christenson / Lunamation on August 20, 2005
Format: DVD
I've seen well over 4,000 movies (3,245 since I started keeping a list, and at least 100 a year before that), and of them all, A Tree Grows in Brooklyn stands out in my memory as the single most effective in terms of the performances of the actors affecting the viewer.

It's a simple story about a poor family, a timeless story that will ring true to millions of families around the world, similar in type to movies like I Remember Mama, The Human Comedy, and Our Vines Have Tender Grapes, but more serious, and in my opinion even more insightful than those fine films. And it's certainly one of the top five tear-jerkers of all time, up there with films like All Mine to Give, On Borrowed Time, Old Yeller, and Bridge to Terabithia. But it's pleasant to watch, even joyful at times, even if you anticipate the sad part.

Every actor in the film rose to the occasion, bringing the character's of Betty Smith's novel to life with fidelity and veracity, depth and breadth, in several cases giving the best performance of a lifetime. That's certainly the truth in the cases of Peggy Ann Garner as young Francie and James Dunn as her lovable, lovable, and lovable - and alcoholic - lovable father Johnny Nolan, both recognized by the Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences with Oscars for their roles in this movie, for best juvenile performer, and best supporting actor, respectively. But also I think Dorothy McGuire as Francie's mother Katie, Joan Blondell as Aunt Sissy, and Lloyd Nolan as Officer McShane each gave their finest performances ever here. (Funny little coincidence of names: Nolan played Mike Shane in several movies, here he plays McShane in a movie full of Nolans.
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DVD
I ordered this DVD from amazon.co.uk, it played perfectly in several brands of US DVD players and on my PC. It is region code "0" so it should work fine. The back of the DVD says "Distributed by Hollywood Classics Ltd. on behalf of 20th Century Fox and made available in the UK... Read More
Aug 26, 2007 by Kevin |  See all 4 posts
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