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Uncertain Glory (1944 film)

From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia

Uncertain Glory
Directed byRaoul Walsh
Written byLászló Vadnay
Max Brand
Based onoriginal story by Joe May and László Vadnay
Produced byRobert Buckner
StarringErrol Flynn
Paul Lukas
CinematographySidney Hickox
Edited byGeorge Amy
Music byAdolph Deutsch
Thomson Productions
Distributed byWarner Bros.
Release dates
  • April 22, 1944 (1944-04-22)
1951 (France)
Running time
102 minutes
CountryUnited States
Box office1,022,524 admissions (France)[1][2]

Uncertain Glory is a 1944 American World War II crime drama film,[3] directed by Raoul Walsh and starring Errol Flynn and Paul Lukas.[4]

Walsh later called the movie a "quickie".[5] François Truffaut admired the film.[6]

The title is a reference to a line from Shakespeare's play Two Gentlemen of Verona (Act 1, Scene 3): "O, how this spring of love resembleth/ The uncertain glory of an April day,/ Which now shows all the beauty of the sun,/ And by and by a cloud takes all away!"[7]


In Vichy Paris during World War II, career criminal Jean Picard awaits execution. French Sûreté Inspector Marcel Bonet has pursued Picard for 15 years, finally apprehending him for murder.

An air raid delivers a direct hit to the prison when Picard is at the guillotine. He flees to the apartment of his best friend, Henri Duval, and demands forged papers and 5,000 francs. While Duval is gone, Picard seduces his willing girlfriend Louise. In return, Duval betrays Picard to the Sûreté.

Bonet captures Picard in Bordeaux. Their trip back to Paris is delayed by a bridge, blown up by an unknown saboteur the night before while carrying a German troop train. The Germans round up 100 Frenchmen to be executed in five days unless the perpetrator is found. Thinking he can use his wiles to escape, Picard offers to give himself up instead, since he is already condemned to death. Extremely skeptical, Bonet nonetheless agrees, and prepares Picard so the Germans will be convinced he is the real saboteur.

Picard - now going by the alias Jean Emil Dupont - ducks into a shop, where he is immediately attracted to the woman behind the counter, Marianne. She is a ward of its owner, Mme. Maret, whose son is one of the hostages. Three days remain until the executions. While Jean works Bonet for some time to dally with Maryanne, Mme. Maret searches for a fall guy to hand to the Germans in return for her son and the rest of the hostages. Her first pigeon, Brenoir, proves too cowardly.

To clear the path, Bonet notifies his superiors in Paris that he shot Picard when he attempted to escape, with his body lost in a river.

Evidence gathered by the local gendarmes suggests there were three saboteurs. Noting two strangers in town who had not reported to submit their identification papers, its commander leads a detail to Bonet's hotel room, bringing a captured suspect. Thinking fast, "Dupont" reveals Bonet's real identity, giving Bonet a chance to claim both he and the captured man are both with the Sûreté, working undercover to capture the fugitive. Released, the "team" of Bonet and Dupont discover the fugitive to be Major Andre Varenne of the Free French Army, and aid him in his air evacuation to England.

The next morning Dupont leaves a flu-ridden Bonet behind to rendezvous with Maryanne after Sunday mass, planning to use a picnic with her to find an unguarded way out of town.

Meanwhile, the local priest, Father LeClerc, discovers a second plot by Mme. Maret, this time seeking to get three local men to frame the "innocent" Dupont. He rails that it would be murder.

Bonet's illness worsens, and he is confined to bed. Dupont uses the excuse of wanting to have the priest hear his confession to go out on his own. He meets Maryanne, who helps him evade a mob of locals, once again incited by Mme. Maret to turn him in. Again Father LeClerc quells the uprising.

When Dupont announces he is leaving for Paris, Maryanne goes with him, despite his confession that he is an unreliable and disreputable character. By morning they are traveling in a farmer's wagon. The old man and his wife say prayers for their son, one of the hostages. Dupont goes on his own to Paris, telling Maryanne he will get money from friends there so they can start a new life together in Martinique.

Back in Paris, Bonet is desperate. He resolves to turn himself in as the saboteur. Then in walks Jean, ready to do so himself, asking only that Bonet retrieve Maryanne from her futile vigil. Jean convinces the Nazis he was the sole saboteur. When Bonet goes to Maryanne, she asks Bonet, "What is he really like, deep in his heart?" Bonet pauses, then answers, "He was a Frenchman."



In September 1942 it was announced that Flynn had signed a new contract with Warners for four films a year, one of which he was to also produce.[8] This was the first film produced under Flynn's new contract with Warners which allowed him a say in the choice of vehicle, director and cast, plus a portion of the profits. He formed his own company, Thomson Productions, to make Uncertain Glory and planned to make a series of films with director Raoul Walsh.[9]

Warners announced the film in June 1943. Flynn was assigned to it instead of Singing in the Wood, where he would have played John James Audubon, the naturalist.[10] That month Robert Buckner was assigned to produce.[11]

Max Brand reportedly worked on the script.[12]

Paul Lukas, who had just had a big hit with Watch on the Rhine, was attached in July 1943.[13] Faye Emerson and Jean Sullivan were signed to support.[14]


Principal photography on Uncertain Glory started in August 1943.[15] During filming it was announced Warners would rush release plans on this and Passage to Marseilles, another drama set in occupied France.[16]

Some filming took place in the grape country in Escondido. While shooting there, labor-strapped farm hands insisted the unit had to pick grapes with them before they would allow filming to take place.[17]


A contemporary The Washington Post reviewer wrote "Flynn has never given a more restrained, earnest and believable portrayal ... there is guile, sly humour, an appealing bravado, grim rebellion, gentleness, charm, in his drawing of a character that is alternately enigmatic and transparent. Mr Flynn is more of an actor than many have thought."[18]

In 2019 Filmink magazine said "The story gets off to a terrific start" but that "about a third of the way in, it all goes haywire."[19]

Selected clip

Jean Picard (Errol Flynn), Inspector Marcel Bonet (Paul Lukas)

Clip: Jean Picard (Errol Flynn), Inspector Marcel Bonet (Paul Lukas)
Inspector Marcel Bonet: Well, it's been a long road, Jean. Hasn't it?
Jean Picard: Yes, but you see, it's come to the right ending.


  1. ^ "Box office results of Raoul Walsh films in France." Box Office Story. Retrieved: January 26, 2015.
  2. ^ "1951 Box Office Figures in France." Box Office Story. Retrieved: January 26, 2015.
  3. ^ "Uncertain Glory (1944)". Turner Classic Movies. Retrieved 2022-10-23.
  4. ^ "Film reviews: Uncertain Glory". Variety. April 5, 1944. p. 14.
  5. ^ Walsh, Raoul (1974). Each man in his time; the life story of a director. Farrar, Straus and Giroux. p. 382.
  6. ^ Higham, Charles (1979). Celebrity Circus. Delacorte Press. p. 315.
  7. ^ "SCENE III. The same. ANTONIO's house". Retrieved 2020-01-23.
  8. ^ "Of Local Origin." The New York Times, September 30, 1942, p. 29.
  9. ^ Thomas et al. 1969, p. 136.
  10. ^ SCREEN NEWS HERE AND IN HOLLYWOOD New York Times 21 June 1943: 13.
  11. ^ "Buckner Guides Flynn". Variety. 30 June 1943. p. 16 – via
  12. ^ west view: Max Brand: the great storyteller who became reluctant 'king of the pulps' Nolan, William F. Los Angeles Times 6 May 1979: s3.
  13. ^ "Screen news here and in Hollywood." The New York Times, July 17, 1943, p. 8.
  14. ^ DRAMA AND FILM: Wally Beery, Daughter May Do Film Together Constance Moore Will Appear Opposite George Murphy in 'Show Business' Schallert, Edwin. Los Angeles Times 27 Aug 1943: 12.
  15. ^ "Film review: 'Uncertain Glory'." Harrison's Reports; April 8, 1944, p. 59.
  16. ^ DRAMA AND FILM: La Dietrich Will Give 'Three Cheers for Boys' Maureen O'Hara Today's Selection for Leading Femme Role in 'Army Wife' Scheuer, Philip K. Los Angeles Times 9 Sep 1943: 17.
  17. ^ ACTORS HAD TO HARVEST CROP Los Angeles Times 23 May 1944: A10.
  18. ^ "'Uncertain Glory' Is An Able 'Acting Piece'." The Washington Post, June 10, 1944, p. 7.
  19. ^ Vagg, Stephen (November 17, 2019). "The Films of Errol Flynn: Part 3 The War Years". Filmink.


  • Behlmer, Rudy. Inside Warner Brothers, 1935-51. London: Weidenfeld & Nicolson, 1987. ISBN 978-0-2977-9242-0.
  • Thomas, Tony, Rudy Behlmer and Clifford McCarty. The Films of Errol Flynn. New York: Citadel Press, 1969. ISBN 978-0-80650-237-3.

External links

This page was last edited on 8 April 2024, at 09:24
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