A Tree Grows in Brooklyn Reviews
Based on Betty Smith's novel, an incredibly engaging story from master-director Elia Kazan. The bleakness and seemingly dead-endedness of the Nolan's existence, the family bonds, the things the parents do to help their kids advance, the idea that you're not limited by your parents socioeconomic level (The American Dream), all these add up to a very emotional and profound journey. A highly thought-provoking and quite accurate depiction of society.
Great performances aid Kazan's direction. James Dunn won the Best Supporting Actor Oscar for his portrayal of Johnny but the whole cast deliver in spades.
Unfortunately, the only other Oscar nomination the movie received was for Best Screenplay (which it didn't win). No Best Picture nomination, though it was a very good year for movies. Billy Wilder's The Lost Weekend won the Oscar from a list of nominees that included Mildred Pierce and Spellbound.
All in all, the book was great, this movie did not become great merely by showing some scenes from a great book, and I didn't think the movie stood on its own. Without having already read and loved the book, I would have been too bored to continue past the first 20 minutes. As it was, I stuck it out waiting and hoping it would grow on me at least for the sake of having a visual representation of one of my favorite books, but it didn't and I turned it off about 3/4 of the way through.
A poor family in Brooklyn is raised by their strong mother and carefree father. Their father struggles to find work but always seems to find friends, drinks, and a way home with no more money than when he left. His children love him to death but his wife is starting to get frustrated with his antics. Can the family survive or will the mother breakup the family in hopes of teaching the father a lesson?
"She'll never have the hard times we had."
"She'll never have half the fun either."
Elia Kazan, director of On the Waterfront, A Street Car Named Desire, East of Eden, A Gentleman's Agreement, Splendor in the Grass, A Face in the Crowd, and Wild River, delivers A Tree Grows in Brooklyn. The storyline for this movie is amazing and a coming of age tale told from a wonderful perspective. The acting was brilliant and the cast delivers wonderful performances. The cast includes James Gleason, Lloyd Nolan, Joan Blodell, and Dorothy McGuire.
"She can't be papa to me. Not ever."
I came across this movie while reviewing the Turner Classic Movie (TCM) schedule. I am a fan of Elia Kazan pictures and found this film to be another impressive mark on his resume. This film is perfect and the evolution of each character is beautiful and unfolds perfectly. I strongly recommend seeing this gem.
"He would have bought you dolls instead of milk."