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A Tree Grows In Brooklyn

A Tree Grows In Brooklyn (1943)

Novel: A Tree Grows In Brooklyn ()
Published/Performed: 1943

Author: Betty Smith
Born: Dec 15, 1896 Brooklyn, NY
Passed: Jan 17, 1972 Shelton, CT

Film: A Tree Grows In Brooklyn
Released: 1945

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About the Novel A Tree Grows In Brooklyn:

A Tree Grows in Brooklyn is a 1943 novel written by Betty Smith. The story focuses on an Irish-American family in Williamsburg, Brooklyn, New York City. The novel is set in the first and second decades of the 20th century. The book was an immense success.

The main metaphor of the book is the hardy Tree of Heaven, native to China and Taiwan, now considered invasive, and common in the vacant lots of New York City.

Although the book addresses many different issues--poverty, alcoholism, lying, etc.--its main theme is the need for tenacity: the determination to rise above difficult circumstances. Although there are naturalistic elements in the book, it is not naturalistic. The Nolans are financially restricted by poverty but yet find ways to enjoy life and satisfy their needs and wants. For example, Francie can become intoxicated just by looking at flowers. Like the Tree of Heaven, Brooklyn's inhabitants fight for the sun and air necessary to their survival.

The book was adapted into a 1945 film directed by Elia Kazan, starring James Dunn, Dorothy McGuire, Joan Blondell, and Peggy Ann Garner, who won a Special Academy Award for Outstanding Child Actress of 1945. James Dunn also won an Academy Award for the film, for Best Supporting Actor.

# In 1951, George Abbott produced and directed the story as a Broadway musical, collaborating with the author on the book, and with music by Arthur Schwartz and choreography by Herbert Ross. The show starred Shirley Booth, Marcia van Dyke, and twelve year old Nomi Mitty played Francie. It ran for 267 performances.

Yet another adaptation was a 1974 "made for television" movie starring Cliff Robertson and Pamelyn Ferdin, which was based on the film's screenplay. This TV movie was a pilot for a weekly series drama which was never produced.

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Featured Cast (Names and Roles) of the Film A Tree Grows In Brooklyn: