BrianRxm Coins in Movies 119/131
A Tree Grows in Brooklyn (1945)
Indian Head cents turn up in early 1900's Brooklyn
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The 1945 Twentieth Century Fox film "A Tree Grows in Brooklyn" was based on the best-selling
1943 novel by Betty Smith.
 
Francie Nolan is an intelligent young girl growing up in early 1900's Brooklyn, New York.
She lives with her family in a low-rent tenement apartment.
 
The family members include her younger brother Neeley, her hard-working mother Katie,
and her father Johnny, who is a part-time waiter and alcoholic.
Her aunt Sissy lives nearby; Sissy likes men and has been "married" several times.
 
The neighborhood children collect junk and sell them to Mr. Carney, a junk dealer.
Francie gets ten cents in pennies which she takes home and leaves on a table.
 
A pile of Indian Head cents is shown on an apartment table.
A Tree Grows in Brooklyn
1. Title
 
It is Saturday in Brooklyn, streetcars are running and children are out of school playing or working.
 
A Tree Grows in Brooklyn
2. Saturday in Brooklyn
 
For childhood, Saturday - free from school - is the most changeless of institutions -
whether it is in city or village, or main street, or in those vital teeming streets
which were the Brooklyn of a few decades ago.
 
Francie and her brother are taking junk to Mr. Carney, the junkman.
 
A Tree Grows in Brooklyn
3. Taking junk to the junk dealer
 
Francie is to sell the goods because Mr. Carney likes little girls and pays them more than he pays boys.
 
There is no arguing over what he offers and Francie accepts nine cents.
 
A Tree Grows in Brooklyn
4. Francie gets her nine cents
 
She gets another "pinch penny" for allowing Mr. Carney to pinch her.
 
The children head home and leave the money on the table for their mother.
 
A Tree Grows in Brooklyn
5. Indian Head cents on table
 
An Indian Head cent obverse and reverse are shown.
The cent under the upper right cent is a Lincoln cent which has a different reverse wreath.
 
An Indian Head cent:
 
United States cent 1906
6. Indian Head cent 1906
 
Francie notices that a neighbor is cutting down a tree.
 
A Tree Grows in Brooklyn
7. Cutting down the tree
 
Francie's mother tells her that these trees are strong and another one will start up.
The "tree" of the title is supposedly a Chinese "Tree of Heaven" or Ailanthus tree.
 
The funeral or burial insurance man makes his monthly collection visit.
 
A Tree Grows in Brooklyn
8. The insurance man collects the policy premium
 
He gets ten cents a month for each adult and five cents for a child.
Burial insurance was a form of life insurance designed to pay for funeral costs.
 
The insurance man is also a source of local gossip and tells Katie that her sister Sissy
is "married" again and pregnant.
 
Francie is outside and borrows a pair of roller skates and the owner calls the police.
 
A Tree Grows in Brooklyn
9. Aunt Sissy, Officer McShane, and Katie Nolan
 
Aunt Sissy befriends McShane the policeman who soon becomes a friend of the family.
 
Francie's father arrives home and she is happy that he is not "sick" (drunk).
 
A Tree Grows in Brooklyn
10. Johnny Nolan gets his coffee
 
Time passes, Katie becomes pregnant, Johnny enrolls Francie in a better school in a different district
and then dies of pneumonia.
 
Katie, assisted by Aunt Sissy and her mother, delivers a daughter, Annie Laurie.
 
Francie finishes school and graduates, the first one in her family to do so.
 
A Tree Grows in Brooklyn
11. Francie graduates
 
Officer McShane arrives at the apartment for a visit.
 
A Tree Grows in Brooklyn
12. Officer McShane proposes
 
Katie accepts McShane's proposal with the approval of Francie.
 
Francie and her brother look out over the tenements and notice that the tree is growing again.
They wonder what is in store for their little sister Annie.
Notes:
 
Cast:
Peggy Ann Garner as Francie Nolan
Dorothy McGuire as Katie Nolan
James Dunn as Johnny Nolan
Ted Donaldson as Neeley Nolan
Joan Blondell as Aunt Sissy
Lloyd Nolan as Officer McShane
 
Director: Elia Kazan
Writers: Tess Slesinger, Frank Davis, Betty Smith (novel)
Notice to Theater Patrons:
 
The film was released in the US in March of 1945 while World War II was still going on.
The 1943 novel was a best-seller and a special free edition became popular with servicemen overseas.
 
A Tree Grows in Brooklyn
13. Notice to theater patrons
 
TO FAMILIES AND FRIENDS OF SERVICEMEN AND WOMEN:
Pictures exhibited in this theatre are given to the armed forces
for showing in combat areas around the world.
WAR ACTIVITIES COMMITTEE
MOTION PICTURE INDUSTRY
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