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A Tree Grows in Brooklyn (1945) Poster

Trivia

After being so impressed by the dailies of the film, executives at Fox wanted to re-shoot the entire movie in Technicolor, but Elia Kazan refused.
Favorite film of Gene Kelly.
Director Elia Kazan and Betty Smith, author of the novel the film was based on, were classmates at the Yale School of Drama.
Peggy Ann Garner received a special juvenile Oscar for her performance as Francie.
The Betty Smith novel was the object of pre-publication bidding competition among several studios, with Darryl F. Zanuck and 20th Century-Fox ultimately paying $55,000 for the rights.
According to Turner Classic Movies, Joan Blondell performed a very "adult" scene during the filming of "A Tree Grows in Brooklyn," which the sensors deleted from the film's final cut. The Nolan children find a condom, and her character, Aunt Sissy, is tasked with describing to them what it is. She approaches this explanation with compassion as opposed to clinical coldness. Despite the fact that this scene was omitted from the final product, Blondell always considered it "the best work she ever did on screen."
According to the Sunset Garden Book, the tree that grew in Brooklyn was an Ailanthus tree, or Tree of Heaven. It has naturalized itself over much of the U.S., to the point of being considered a weed tree, but it is still invaluable as an attractive windbreak and shade tree, adaptable under the harshest conditions.
Fred MacMurray campaigned for the role of Johnny Nolan and Alice Faye was at one time considered for Aunt Sissy.
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In the June 1945 issue of Screenland Magazine costume designer Bonnie Cashin, in her column "Notes from a Designer's Diary" comments "If the average American girl could be the heroine of her own life story, and dress accordingly! This thought struck me more forcibly than it ever had before while I was fitting Dorothy McGuire for the part of Katie in "A Tree Grows in Brooklyn." Most of the girls want to look a little glamorous on screen (and off) whether the story calls for rags or riches. Not Dorothy. A stickler for characterization, she stood for hours in her old rags and ravels, suggesting a patch here, a droop there, deliberately deglamorizing herself in order to make sure that not a single bright thread should give the lie to Katie's threadbare life. Dorothy was playing a heroine of poverty and she dressed accordingly. So should we all, in the parts we play, in make believe, or in life. Joan Blondell didn't complain, either, when as Aunt Sissy, she had to wear the sort of ugly-period-of-1914 clothes, the high-topped shoes, the blousy blouses, the too-tight corset. "Oh, Bonnie," little Peggy Ann Garner said to me when we were making Francie's clothes, "oh, Bonnie, every picture they put me in I have to wear poor girls' clothes. Can't I have one good dress?" So we gave her the white graduation dress and the red roses and Peggy Ann accepted poverty and trouped through the picture, patiently ironing her one faded cotton (and she did iron it) and well content.
Gene Tierney was originally cast as Katie Nolan. When Tierney became pregnant, Dorothy McGuire was given the role.
Nicholas Ray came out from New York with Elia Kazan for Kazan's directorial debut. Besides his brief appearance in the cast as a bakery clerk, various sources have Ray working as assistant director and assisting Alfred Newman with the score, but studio records officially list him as dialogue director.
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Besides Gene Tierney, Mary Anderson and Jeanne Crain were rumored for the Katie Nolan role, while it was reported that Phil Regan was the leading candidate for the role of Johnny. Alice Faye was the first actress considered for the role of Katie, not Aunt Sissie, according to the Hollywood Reporter in 1943.
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20th Century-Fox production number 645.
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