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"The Green Promise" w/Natalie Wood & Walter Brennan


Debra Johnson
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Watching this right now on TCM and one thing that's really distracting me.  WHY in the world was such an old actor cast to play the father in this film?  Walter Brennan appears to be in his early 70s and the two younger girls playing his daughter appear to be aged 10 and 12.  He literally could biologically be their grand father.  So far fetched he's the dad and very distracting.

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http://www.vanityfair.com/news/2008/10/oil_excerpt200810

 

Construction began, and proceeded fitfully through 1947 and 1948. The Shamrock was as big as McCarthy had hoped, a gray granite colossus 18 stories high and almost as wide. Building it, however, was the easy part. McCarthy dreamed of making the Shamrock’s Saint Patrick’s Day opening a national event, with coverage in Time and Life and newspapers around the world. He envisioned a Hollywood-style gala, complete with spotlights and movie stars. Unfortunately, Houston had no movie stars. So McCarthy hatched the idea of holding a simultaneous movie premiere and hotel opening. To do that, however, it would be necessary to make an actual movie.

 

From Black Gold to Silver Screen

 

And so, in March 1948, one year before the opening, McCarthy flew to Los Angeles and announced the formation of Glenn McCarthy Productions, telling reporters he was embarking on a series of major film projects. His announcement, coming just as Life introduced America to H. L. Hunt and the strange new world of Texas millionaires, created a stir in film circles. “A spectacular entrance,” one columnist termed it. “It looked as though McCarthy would turn Hollywood topsy-turvy with his ambitious production plans.” McCarthy then embarked on a manic tour of Hollywood parties and nightspots, befriending a slew of stars, from Errol Flynn to John Wayne. Making a movie, he discovered, wasn’t nearly as difficult as finding oil. McCarthy hired a director and a cameraman, and had talent agents hire actors. He had a script ready to film, The Green Promise, the story of a young girl’s struggle to save her family’s farm. To McCarthy’s delight, the child star Natalie Wood agreed to play the lead. Walter Brennan signed to play her father.

 

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January 1949, with the hotel’s opening only three months away, construction on the Shamrock was almost finished; it had cost $21 million. The Green Promise was complete, and would premiere at a Houston theater the night after the hotel’s opening; city fathers had agreed to stage a torchlit evening parade in its honor.

 

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That morning the stars began to arrive. McCarthy had chartered an entire 14-car Santa Fe train—“the Shamrock Special”—to bring them from Hollywood. A crowd of 5,000 dominated by bobby-soxers ringed the train station and lined nearby rooftops for its arrival. Girls squealed when Dorothy Lamour emerged and kissed McCarthy on the cheek. Cheers erupted as other stars followed: Robert Ryan, Andy Devine, Alan Hale, Ward Bond, Kirk Douglas, Stan Laurel, Buddy Rogers, Ruth Warrick, Robert Stack. Four dozen more arrived on an American Airlines charter that afternoon.

 

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Brennan was actually in his mid 50s when the film was made,

so it's not too much of a stretch that he could have kids that

young, though he does look older than his age. He seems

to be a good father at the start of the movie, but then we

learn he is a rather mean and manipulative type with his

fake family "democracy." I enjoyed it for the most part, except

for the Perils of Pauline ending and his sudden realization

of what a horse's rear he's been. A little too convenient.

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