Tom Brown - The Movie
|| Tom Brown - - Boy who thought his father a war hero finds he was really a deserter. |
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|| Tom Brown of Culver is the story of a young man, Tom Brown, who attends Culver Military Academy. He is sponsored by the American Legion as a
tribute to his dad, who had been a Congressional Medal of Honor winner, supposedly killed in the war. In a strange turn of events, the young man's
father shows up unexpectedly, revealing that he's been a deserter, suffering shell shock. A disillusioned Tom drops out of school, but his friends at
school help him sort through his problems. He helps his dad to recover and to receive an honorable discharge. He then returns to school and graduates.|
Tom Brown of Culver was directed by William Wyler, one of Universal Studio's primary directors. Tyrone Powers was just eighteen when this movie was released.
It was his film debut, and he appeared only briefly in the movie, as a stern upperclassman, John, at Culver Military Academy - http:/www.tyrone-power.com/tombrown.html
||Tom Brown of Culver is the story of a young man, Tom Brown, who attends Culver Military Academy. He is sponsored by the American Legion as a tribute to his dad,
who had been a Congressional Medal of Honor winner, supposedly killed in the war.
In a strange turn of events, the young man's father shows up unexpectedly,
revealing that he's been a deserter, suffering shell shock. A disillusioned Tom
drops out of school, but his friends at school help him sort through his problems.
He helps his dad to recover and to receive an honorable discharge. He then returns
to school and graduates.|
|Tom Brown of Culver was directed by William Wyler, one of Universal Studio's
primary directors. Tyrone was just eighteen when this movie was released. It was
his film debut, and he appeared only briefly in the movie, as a stern upperclassman
at Culver Military Academy. This wo uld be the only time that Wyler directed Ty
Power, but they became close friends and wo uld remain so for the rest of Ty's
life. Deeply saddened by Tyrone's death, Wyler wrote, "Ty Power's shockingly sudden
death on set in Spain yesterday made me suddenly aware of my mortality." Tyrone
Power's son (born after his death), Tyrone William Power IV, was given the middle
name "William" in honor of the director.
Tom Brown (the male lead in Tom Brown of Culver ) later played a relatively small
part as one of Tyrone Power's brothers in the 1938 movie, In Old Chicago.
Col. Rossow Leaves For Hollywood Studios
||Col. Robert Rossow left Sunday for Hollywood Calif., where he will aid the
Universal Picture Corporation in producing the Culver picture, "Tom Brown of
Culver ." It is undecided when Colonel Rossow will return but it will probably
not be until the picture is completed.|
Two wardrobes, such as the cadets use in their rooms are to be taken out to
furnish a complete and authentic cadet room. The uniforms will be made at the
academy so there will be as few alterations as possible. These will be furnished
to only those who will actually need them. A company of high school R. 0. T. C.
cadets will be used for the necessary close-ups.
The actual shooting will start within two or three, days after the arrival of
Colonel Rossow. After the shooting starts it will probably take only six or
eight weeks to complete the picture. - -The Culver Citizen, early 1932
"Tom Brown of Culver " Film Nears Completion
The Universal moving picture, "Tom Brown of Culver ," featuring cadet life at
the Culver Military Academy and using the beautif ul Academy campus as a background,
is nearing completion. The cast is at the Academy this week finishing the last
shots and it is believed that the picture will be ready for release within a short
An unusually strong cast is taking part in the picture, indicating that the film
will be one of the best pictures of the year. Some of the actors are: H. B. Warner,
Tom Brown, Richard Cromwell, Tyrone Power Jr., Russell Hopton, Willard Robertson,
Slim Summerville, Gene Pallette, Sidney Toler, Norman Phillips Jr., and many
other well known movie stars. - - The Culver Citizen, -May 4, 1932
LEGION BAND FILMED FOR USE IN MOVIE PICTURE
Movie cameramen working on the movie-talkie "Brown of Culver ," the major portion of which is being filmed at Culver Military Academy, took
several hundred feet of "shots" of Legion meeting which was held at Bluffton a week ago last Sunday, for use in the talkie.
Rochester people will be interested in knowing that the Rochester Legion band which headed the parade at the Bluffton meeting will appear in
the "Brown of Culver " talkie-movie, and when the movie is brought to this city a big turn-out is anticipated.
On Saturday the Hollywood cameramen went to Indianapolis where several scenes were taken at Indiana World War Memorial Plaza which will be
shown in the movie. - - The News-Sentinel, Monday, May 16, 1932
Culver Movie Makes Hit At Showing Here
Last Friday night the corps of the Culver Summer School, faculty and friends of the school attended the first showing here of "Tom Brown of Culver",
a Universal Film Company feature picture. The picture was enthusiastically received by the capacity crowd as the film not only gave excellent views of
the academy and ably depicted the molding of a boy's life, but the acting was of the highest type with Tom Brown and "Slim" Summerville carrying
away the honors. The directing of the picture was unusually good, while the theme kept the interest of the audience at a high point throughout. The
film should rate as one of the best productions of the year.
Gen. L. R. Gignilliat made the interesting statement that 300,000 feet of film were taken while only 7,000 are used in the picture as finally released. --
- The Culver Citizen, July 20
Still shots of the movie:
Culver MOVIE IS PRAISED BY CRITIC AT HOLLYWOOD
The moving picture, "Tom Brown of Culver ," which was filmed at the Culver Military Academy, has been released
and is now showing in the larger theatres over the country. The following review was given by a critic in the
"Hollywood Record" after the preview.
Answering the cry for something different, Universal presents for your entertainment "Tom Brown of Culver", as
neat a piece of entertainment as this reviewer has seen in many a preview night.
The story is different, its-direction is different, it is played differently, and there will certainly be a
difference in your box-office check-up after you have completed your engagement.
Someone in the picture business ought to start an investigation to delve into the brains of those responsible
for this picture at Universal and ascertain why they have, absolutely, buried the conventional and left the love
interest out of a picture; this picture.
There are plenty of heart throbs in it, some of them reaching pangs, but not one brought on through the influence
of a woman, and all because of human emotions for the actions of human beings in a real human story.
Ninety per cent of the story is laid in the Culver Military Academy. The players are cadets at the same Academy,
with a cast of Hollywood artists enacting the major portions of the story. It is all about one Tom Brown, who is
financed through the Academy by the Legion in recognition of the extremely valorous service given to the country by
Tom's father, who, until well past the middle of the story, was thought to 'be dead.
He returns very unexpectedly and instead of being a hero, confesses that he deserted, placed his wrist plate on a dead
soldier and, accordingly, was awarded the Distinguished Service medal. Of course, this is all washed up In the end to
the satisfaction of the audience.
The movement of the story in the military school, the progressive steps of the training and education of those boys, the
dramatic and, sometimes, comic actions in their, lives, furnish excellent material and, as said above, something different.
The big punch of the picture though, after giving great credit to its authors and adaptors, George Greene, E. A. Patterson
and Tom Buckingham, is in the direction of William Wyler, whose praise has been sung in these columns before. Wyler
distinguishes himself with this production and Universal has a big directorial asset in, his contract.
Tom Brown, as Tom Brown, and Richard Cromwell grab the acting honors, with Slim Summerville and Ben Alexander running neck and
neck for next honors.
The rest of the cast all did excellently with smaller bits. - - -The Culver Citizen, July 13, 1932
And a review from tvquide.com
TOM BROWN OF Culver
William Wyler, 1932
A touching story about the transformation of Brown from an unr uly kid into an
outstanding cadet at Culver Military Academy. He believes (as everyone else
does) that his father died a war hero, and the American Legion puts him through
military school. However, his father turns out not to be dead but a deserter.
This knowledge almost shatters the young boy, but the support of his pals from
the academy helps him to get back on his feet and to accomplish the feat of
getting his dad an honorable discharge. The development of the plot gets bogged
down in the routines of the school, but the performances by the young actors are
nonromanticized, making these scenes seem very realistic. This was the first
time the face of Hollywood idol Tyrone Power was to grace the screen; he is
seen here in a minor role as one of the cadet upperclassmen. This film was
remade by Universal as SPIRIT OF Culver (1939).
From the New York Times is this partial review:
Tom Brown of Culver
N.Y. Times Review by
Running Time: 82 Minutes
Starring: Ben Alexander, Richard Cromwell, H.B. Warner, Tom Brown
Directed by: William Wyler
William Wyler directed this melodramatic story about a boy who, after growing up
in the shadow of his father, learns the old man wasn't all he claimed to be.
Tom Brown (played, as coincidence wo uld have it, by an actor named Tom Brown)
is a boy who has been struggling to help his mother keep body and so ul together
ever since the death of his father during World War I. The elder Brown died in
combat when Tom was a baby, but her heroism earned him a posthumous Congressional
Medal of Honor, and in tribute to his father a local American Legion post presents
Tom with a f ull scholarship to attend the prestigious Culver Military Academy;
while Tom has his doubts about his future as a soldier, he certainly understands
the value of an education and accepts. However, its not until after he's enrolled
at Culver that Tom learns the truth about his father -- "Doc" Brown (H.B. Warner)
fled in the midst of battle, exchanging his identification with a dead soldier,
and has been living the life of a coward ever since. Will Tom be able to restore
the good name of the Brown family? Andy Devine, Sidney Toler, Slim Summerville
and a young Tyrone Power highlight the supporting cast. ~ Mark Deming, All Movie Guide
cast for 'Tom Brown of Culver':
Tom Brown - Tom Brown
H.B. Warner - Dr. Henry Brown
Richard Cromwell - Bob Randolph III
Ben Alexander - Ralph
Sidney Toler - Maj. Wharton
Russell Hopton - Legion Doctor
Willard Robertson - Capt. White
Tyrone Power - John
Kit Guard - K.O. Mooney the Boxer
Betty Blythe - Dolores Delight
Alan Ladd -
Andy Devine - Mac the Call Boy
Dick Winslow -
Eugene Pallette - Deaf Diner
Frank S. Hagney - Fight Manager
Lew Kelly - Daffy Diner
Matty Roubert - Cadet
Norman Philips, Jr. - Ernest Carruthers
Phil Dunham - Counterman
Producer - Carl Laemmle Jr.
Director - William Wyler
Writer - Clarence Marks (based on the story by George Green, Dale Van Every);
Source - Dale Van Every; George Green
Editor - Frank Gross
Cinematographer - Charles Stumar
'TOM BROWN OF Culver'
Among the Military Cadets.
New York Times
Published: July 30, 1932
The life of the cadets at the Culver Military Academy is being celebrated at the
Mayfair this week with the aid of authentic backgrounds and detail, some of the
screen's best juvenile and a rather exhilarating absence of the usual Frank
Merriwell motif. The boys act like boys instead of like road company Hamlets,
a phenomenon which endows "Tom Brown of Culver " with some fine and touching moments.
The film suffers from an overzealous preoccupation with Culver atmosphere, and this
has the effect of making a thin story thinner. Ten or fifteen minutes wo uld not
be missed on a hot day. Such a deletion wo uld give the firm the necessary pace,
rescue it from its jingoistic leanings and make it seem a little less like an
advertisement for the Culver Military Academy.
The story traces Tom Brown's conversion from a moody, rebellious youngster into
a little stalwart who grows misty-eyed in contemplating the noble traditions of
Culver and the United States Army. Because Tom's father supposedly was killed in
action, the American Legion is sending the lad through school. Then his father
appears on the scene with a story of shell-shock and desertion, and Tom meets a
crisis in his young life.
The work of Tom Brown—who had the lead named after himself—and of Richard Cromwell,
Ben Alexander, Kit Wain and Norman Phillips Jr. is first-rate. The tyranny of
the older students, the distortion of values so common among school boys and the
varying reactions of the cadets to problems of discipline and sentiment are ably
presented. H. B. Warner is properly haggard as the returned war "hero" and Slim
Summerville contributes some amusing moments as a veteran with a talent for reminiscing.
It may be noted as an example of the restraint and intelligence that have gone
into the production that there are no women in the cast and only the barest
suggestion of an adolescent romantic theme.
TOM BROWN OF Culver , based on a story by George Green and Dale Van Every; directed
by William Wyler; a Universal picture. At the RKO Mayfair.
Tom Brown . . . . . Tom Brown
Dr. Brown . . . . . H. B. Warner
Slim . . . . . Slim Summerville
Bob Randolph . . . . . Richard Cromwell
Ralph . . . . . Ben Alexander
Major Wharton . . . . . Sidney Toler
Doctor . . . . . Russell Hopton
Call Boy . . . . . Andy Devine
Captain White . . . . . Willard Robertson
Carruthers . . . . . Norman Phillips Jr.
John . . . . . Tyrone Power Jr.
||SHEET MUSIC TITLE: THE Culver MILITARY BAND. Published by Bibo-Lang, New York, United States,
1932. Written and composed by Clarence J Marks, Harry Brown and Irving Bibo. This song was
featured in the Universal film "Tom Brown of Culver "|