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Uncertain Glory (1944 film)

From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia

Uncertain Glory
Poster of the movie Uncertain Glory.jpg
Directed byRaoul Walsh
Written byLászló Vadnay
Max Brand
Based onoriginal story by Joe May
László Vadnay
Produced byRobert Buckner
StarringErrol Flynn
Paul Lukas
CinematographySidney Hickox
Edited byGeorge Amy
Music byAdolph Deutsch
Thomson Productions
Distributed byWarner Bros.
Release date
  • 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 war 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 Paris, a priest makes his way through pre-dawn fog into a prison courtyard where a guillotine is being tested. A guard abruptly rouses prisoner Jean Picard (Errol Flynn). His appeal has failed. The warden (Art Smith) explains to Commissioner of Police LaFarge ( Douglass Dumbrille ): If they warned the poor devil beforehand he would spend the night “turning to ice”.

French Sûreté Inspector Marcel Bonet (Paul Lukas) arrives. Bonet has followed Picard for 15 years, from his first petty theft to murder. “It’s been a long road,” Picard says. Bonet replies, “As you see, it has come to the right ending”.

An air raid delivers a direct hit to the prison when Picard is at the guillotine. He runs for his life to an apartment where Louise (Faye Emerson) banters with Henri Duval (Sheldon Leonard). Duval is horrified to see Picard, who demands money and papers, and cheerfully threatens his partner in crime with the guillotine if he betrays him.

Picard charms Louise; they kiss. Cut to Duval racing up the stairs. Louise bolts to the bedroom; Picard pretends to doze. Duval is incensed that Picard has taken his best suit. Picard plucks Duval’s hat from his head, dons it at a jaunty angle and leaves. Duval notices two wine glasses. In the bedroom, Louise nervously buffs her nails.

In the Bonet apartment, the Inspector and Madame ( Odette Myrtil ) share a pot of “unspeakable” “coffee”. Bonet reassures his wife. He already has Picard “here,” pointing to his forehead. Duval comes to the door. Bonet asks, “Where is he?”.

Bonet tracks Picard—and Louise—to a hotel room in Bordeaux. When Picard tries to overpower him, the inspector easily throws him downstairs, saying “You know better”.

Their trip back to Paris is delayed when saboteurs destroy a bridge and a German troop train. 100 hostages will die in 5 days unless the perpetrator is found. Picard asks how the Germans execute saboteurs. When he hears “firing squad”, he offers to masquerade as the saboteur, to escape the guillotine. Bonet refuses, but Picard works on him until the inspector agrees.

Bonet prepares Picard for interrogation. They look at the ruined bridge and go to the village hotel. Most of the hostages came from here. A group meets in the home of Mme. Maret. Marianne ( Jean Sullivan ) returns from church, where she has been praying for Madame Maret's son, Jules, among others. After Father LeClerc ( Dennis Hoey) leaves, Madame tries and fails to persuade Brenoir (Joel Friedkin) to be the scapegoat. It would not work—saboteurs come from far away.

Bonet and Picard choose an alias: Jean Emil Dupont. Bonet reports that he shot Picard and the body fell into the river. In Mme. Maret’s shop, Picard is captivated by Marianne and persuades her to show them the best fishing.

At the hotel, Vichy police confront the two strangers with the captured saboteur, but Bonet’s identity card silences them. Bonet saves the saboteur, a Major Andre Varenne (Ivan Triesault) of the Free French Army in England, saying he is a new agent overdoing instructions to keep silent. Before flying back to England, the Major gives them detailed information about the mission.

On Sunday, Bonet encourages Picard to make his Confession, but Picard insists on telling all to Bonet, making it a joke. Marianne and Picard stroll through the vineyards while Bonet sits under a tree, coughing. She has never been in love before: They will find each other some day. Picard embraces her and says, tomorrow is all they have.

The doctor sends Bonet to bed for two days. Picard says that he wants to clear his soul and say good-bye to Marianne, swearing to be back by 10 p.m. Meanwhile, Mme. Maret plans to accuse Picard of being the saboteur. Marianne warns him, and they flee as a mob assembles. The police arrive, and Father Le Clerc sends everyone home. The clock strikes midnight. Bonet huddles in his blanket. Mme Maret appears, asking “Where are they?”

Marianne begs to go with Picard. “Why couldn't I have met you before?” he asks. They kiss and run into the darkness. In the morning, they are in a farmer’s wagon. Marianne sleeps. The old farmer offers breakfast. Picard asks, can they go faster? The farmer says that the horse is like France, old and beaten, too tough to die. What keeps her going? Courage. At the farmhouse, Marianne lights a candle for the farmer's son. Picard tells her he must go to Paris to get money for their new life, promising to return.

Back in Paris, Bonet considers pretending to be the saboteur. Then he hears Picard’s voice, announcing himself as Jean Dupont. On the walk to Gestapo headquarters, Picard tells Bonet where to find Marianne. He does not know why he came back. “I suppose there’s a time when any man, even a man like me, can find something, something bigger than himself, for which he is ready to die without question, almost happily.” “Yes Jean,” Bonet says, “I know. Well, It’s been a long road, Jean, hasn’t it?” “Yes but you see it’s come to the right ending.” Picard replies.

A Nazi Major scoffs at this, the fourth surrender in three days. He asks how “Dupont” got past the guards on the bridge. Picard faces the Major and describes the strategy. Bonet comes to the farmhouse. “Is he coming later?” Marianne asks, and reads the answer in his face. ”You were his friend, you knew him well. What is he really like, deep in his heart?” Bonet pauses and 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]

Warers 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]


The Washington Post 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]

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]

In 1946 Arthur Greene, a financier, bought up Thompson Productions.[20]

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) - Genre -". Turner Classic Movies. Retrieved 2020-05-23.
  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.
  20. ^ "Thompson Films Purchased". Film Daily. November 14, 1946. p. 2.


  • 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 17 November 2021, at 20:21
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