Tuesday, July 8, 2014

Case Study No. 1427: Unnamed Female Librarian (A Tree Grows in Brooklyn)

A Tree Grows in Brooklyn (1945) pt.2/12
part two
Tags: Peggy Ann Garner Dorothy McGuire Joan Blondell James Dunn Llyod Nolan James Gleason
Added: 4 years ago
From: Univfoxx
Views: 11,518

[scene opens with young Francie entering the public library, as she hands a book to the older female librarian (hair in a bun, white blouse with white collar and black tie) at the front desk, who mechanically stamps it and hands back her library card (never once looking up at her patron)]
[cut to Francie heading for the card catalog, where she opens the "B" drawer and begins leafing through it]
FRANCIE: [whispers] "Browning" ... "B-U" ... "Burton." "Anatomy of Melancholy."
[she heads for the stacks, where she scans the shelves before pulling out a book]
FRANCIE: [whispers] Burton, Anatomy of Melancholy.
[satisfied, she smiles and brings the book back to the librarian, who begins stamping it for checkout before noticing the title on the spine]
LIBRARIAN: Burton's Anatomy of Melancholy! Are you sure you want this?
FRANCIE: Yes, ma'am.
LIBRARIAN: Don't you think it's a trifle over your head?
FRANCIE: Yes, ma'am ....
LIBRARIAN: Well then, why did you select it?
FRANCIE: Well ... read all the authors beginning with "A", and all the "B"s down to Burton. It's next.
LIBRARIAN: You mean you're trying to read your way straight through the library?
[she looks down, apparently afraid (ashamed?) to look the librarian in the eyes]
FRANCIE: Yes, ma'am.
LIBRARIAN: But a book like this, you'll only be confused--
FRANCIE: Please, I wanna read clear through the alphabet! I wanna know everything in the world!
[the librarian is slightly taken aback (perhaps even impressed?) by the conviction in the young girl's voice]
LIBRARIAN: Well ... all right. Only--
[she reaches over and picks up another book]
LIBRARIAN: Do something for me, will you? Take another book, too ... Here, "When Knighthood Was In Flower." Just for fun! It's Saturday. I'll have a headache thinking about you wrestling with The Anatomy of Melancholy all weekend. Will you?
[the young girl smiles shyly]
FRANCIE: Yes, ma'am.
[the librarian smiles back and hands both books to Francie, who takes them happily and exits the library]


From earthlink.net:


Kazan, Elia (Director). A Tree Grows in Brooklyn. United States: 20th Century Fox, 1945.

Starring: Lillian Bronson (Librarian); Peggy Ann Garner (Francie Nolan)

Based on the Novel: Smith, Betty. A Tree Grows in Brooklyn. New York: Harper & Brothers, 1943.

Chapter two of Betty Smith's autobiographical novel begins: "The library was a little old shabby place. Francie thought it was beautiful. The feeling she had about it was as good as the feeling she had about church." Eleven-year old Francie does not, however, like the librarian, who never looks up at the child even after years of faithful patronage. "[A] friendly comment would have made her so happy. She loved the library and was anxious to worship the lady in charge. But the librarian had other things on her mind. She hated children anyhow." I bring up the book's perspective because it's not presented in the film, which has one short library scene in which the librarian, despite a stern demeanor, is helpful and actually converses. At the end of the book when Francie is several years older, she finally confronts the librarian, making her look up for the first time. "There are so many children," the lady says, "I can't be looking at each one of them." This movie is filmed in black and white and is heavy with dramatic pauses -- not worth the Blockbuster fee if you're looking only for library issues. The book doesn't contribute much to the librarian literature either, but is as poignant now as when you read it the first time when you were young.

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