Uncertain Glory

Uncertain Glory is a 1944 film directed by Raoul Walsh and starring Errol Flynn and Paul Lukas.[3]

Uncertain Glory
Directed byRaoul Walsh
Produced byRobert Buckner
Written byLászló Vadnay
Max Brand
Based onoriginal story by Joe May
László Vadnay
StarringErrol Flynn
Paul Lukas
Music byAdolph Deutsch
CinematographySidney Hickox
Edited byGeorge Amy
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]

Walsh later called the film a "quickie".[4] Francois Truffaut was an admirer of the movie.[5]


In Paris, just before dawn, a priest makes his way through foggy streets, past a Nazi bulletin dated 1943, through the gates of a stonewalled prison and into a courtyard where a guillotine is being tested. A guard abruptly rouses prisoner Jean Picard (Errol Flynn) from a heavy sleep and tells him his petition has been rejected: The hour has come. When the prison barber tries to shave his neck, Picard throws him across the room. The guard says It is not important, and Picard, rejecting the priest’s offer of consolation, is given a white shirt to replace his wool prison uniform.

In the warden’s office, the warden (Art Smith) explains the surprise awakening of the condemned man 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. The warden introduces him as “our famous Bonet” and compliments him on his outstanding detective work. Bonet says that he has been following Picard for 15 years, ever since his first petty theft, but he has never been able to put the man away for more than 6 months—until he committed murder. Bonet has little hope of the forthcoming interview; he is there to observe the formalities.

Picard is brought into the office. Bonet recaps Picard’s crime: killing a nightwatchman in the course of a jewelry robbery, with a blow from a still-unidentified “blunt object” which Picard says was the floor. He is cocky and flippant and taunts Bonet with his refusal to say more about the crime and his accomplice, if any.

“It’s been a long road,” Picard says, and Bonet replies, “As you see, it has come to the right ending,” (This exchange is repeated near the end of the film.)

Air raid sirens sound, but the walk to the execution continues, despite the arrival of British planes overhead and the presence of a munitions factory behind the prison. At the guillotine, guards remove Picard’s jacket and cut away the neck of his shirt. The prison takes a direct hit, and the walls are shattered. Picard runs for his life to an apartment with the name plate Henri Duval. He buzzes frantically, while upstairs a gaudily dressed woman (Faye Emerson) smooths her stockings and preens while she and Duval (lSheldon Leonard) engage in banter that suggests that he picked her up in an air raid shelter. She goes into another room while Duval opens the door, horrified to see Picard. Calling Duval his “best friend” Picard demands money and papers, and cheerfully threatens his partner in crime with the guillotine if he tries to betray him.

Duval leaves and through the closed bedroom door, the woman, who is examining Duval’s silver hairbrushes, hears the sound of Picard going into Duval’s wardrobe to get a change of clothes. He finds her handbag and retrieves a scented handkerchief and a cigarette case with her name, Louise, on it. He uses her name to get her to open the door, tells her Duval will be gone about an hour and proceeds to charm her with a line about belonging to the underground. They kiss, and the scene cuts to Duval racing up the stairs. At the sound of footsteps, Louise bolts from the sofa to the bedroom, and Picard pretends to be asleep. Duval hands over papers and money, incensed that Picard has taken his best suit; Picard takes Duval’s hat from his head, puts it on at a jaunty angle and leaves, thanking Duval for everything and departing with a warning glare. Duval looks down at the table and sees two empty wine glasses and two cigarettes parked cosily in the ashtray. In the bedroom, Louise nervously buffs her nails.

In thevBonet apartment. The Inspector and Madame are sharing a pot of unspeakable “coffee,” and their two children are leaving for the day, their young son full of hope that his school has been bombed. The authorities are frantic about finding Picard, but Bonet reassures his wife ( Odette Myrtil ) that he knows everything about the man and already “has him,” here, pointing to his forehead. Duval comes to the apartment and before he can say a single word, Bonet asks, “Where is he?” Duval smiles.

In a hotel room in Bordeaux, Picard and the waiter share their appreciation of a rare vintage, Château Lafite ‘24. He brings a glass to Louise, who says she would have laughed in the face of anyone who said that she would follow a man clear across France. Picard promises to send for her once he is safely in Spain. The waiter knocks and when Picard reaches through the door Bonet, gun in hand, snaps the cuffs on. Picard immediately lashes out at Louise, asking what she got out of it. Bewildered, Louise asks Bonet what he wants with Picard and when he tells her the simple truth: “He’s a convicted murderer and I’m taking him back to the guillotine.” she slaps Picard, grabs her things and runs. Bonet tells Picard that he has always had two weaknesses “women and Bonet.” At the staircase, Picard tries to overpower Bonet, but the inspector easily throws him downstairs, saying “You know better.”

Their trip back to Paris is delayed because saboteurs have destroyed a bridge and the long German troop train that was crossing it. 100 hostages will die in 5 days unless the saboteur is found. Picard, who loathes the thought of the guillotine, asks Bonet how the Germans would execute the saboteur, and when he hears “firing squad” he seizes on this as a way to escape the guillotine, if not actual execution.

He tells Bonet that he, Picard. should turn himself in as the saboteur. Bonet dismisses the idea, saying the hostages mean nothing to Picard, he is just playing for time, but Picard continues to work on him until the inspector at lasts accepts the offer, although he himself is risking prison and the security of his family in perpetrating such a fraud.

So, Bonet begins to drill Picard in the facts he must have ready when the Germans question him. They begin by looking at the ruined bridge and the surrounding country, then they go to the village by the bridge to check into the hotel. Picard comments that they go to sleep early there but Bonet replies that no one is asleep here, people are up and awake in the dark: Most of the hostages came from this place.

Inside the home of Mme. Maret, a group of villagers Is joined by Father LeClerc ( Dennis Hoey). People are suffering horribly under the threat to their loved ones. One woman has tried to kill herself. Marianne ( Jean Sullivan ) , who works for Mme. Maret, returns from church, where she lit candles for Madame’s son, Jules, and for the others. Father LeClerc tells them to have faith and leaves. Madame refuses to “just pray and wait for a miracle.” She tries to persuade Brenoir (Joel Friedkin) to pretend to be the saboteur. He refuses, and the others agree that it would not work anyway; saboteurs always come from far away.

In their hotel room, Bonet and Picard come up with an alias: a thief in Picard’s regiment who came from Martinique, Jean Emil Dupont. Bonet places a call to the Commissioner to tell him that he shot Picard and the body fell into the river; the commissioner tells him to take some time off before coming home.

In Mme. Maret’s shop, Picard meets Marianne and is immediately charmed by her innocence. He tells her they are on a three-day vacation; they buy fishing tackle and he persuades her to show them to the brook. Madame gives her blessing to the plan, for reasons of her own. Marianne shows signs of falling for Picard, which worries Bonet.

When they return to their hotel room, Vichy police are waiting to confront the two men with the captured saboteur, but the sight of Bonet’s identity card fills them with chagrin. Bonet saves the saboteur, a Major Andre Varenne (Ivan Triesault) of the Free French Army in England, by pretending that the man is a new agent who has gotten carried away with instructions to keep silent. They take the Major back to the landing spot, and he provides them with detailed information about the mission, including the use of a time bomb instead of dynamite. He says he has only one regret, that 100 Frenchman have to die. The plane takes off into night.

Bonet, who has a bad cough, sleeps in and wakes to find Picard gone. He finds him coming out of a chemists with a prescription to help with Bonet’s coughing. Bonet is filled with distrust, even when Picard takes six of the pills himself to prove his innocence.

It is Sunday, but Picard won’t go into the church. When Marianne comes out, he glibly lies and tells her he went to the early service. Bonet tries to persuade Picard to make his confession to the parish priest, but Picard insists on telling all to Bonet—and turns it into a joke.

Marianne packs a picnic lunch, and she and Picard stroll through the vineyards while Bonet sits under a tree, coughing. She has never been in love before, and believes that they will find each other some day, somewhere; Picard takes her in his arms and says no, they will never see each other again after tomorrow. Tomorrow is all they have.

Meanwhile, Mme. Maret—not knowing that Bonet is Surêté—is rehearsing three men in what they will say when they accuse Dupont/Picard, a stranger, of being the saboteur. The priest overhears her and is outraged: This is the work of the Devil himself, the mortal sin of murder. Mme Maret is unconvinced and sends the men to the police.

Bonet is much worse, and the doctor tells him to stay in bed for at least two days. Picard tells him that he wants to see the village priest after all, and try to clear his soul if it is possible, and then to say good-bye to Marianne. He swears to be back by 10 p.m. Bonet believes him. Meanwhile Marianne has overheard the villagers plotting and comes to warn Picard. They run away as the mob assembles beneath Bonet’s window, in front of the church. The priest exhorts the entire village to reject this wicked idea, The police arrive and the priest, saying that ugly times bring ugly thoughts, sends the gathering home without revealing the cause of the trouble to the police.

The clock strikes midnight. Bonet huddles in his blanket. Footsteps on the stairs turn out to be Mme Maret asking “Where are they?”

Marianne takes Picard to the outskirts of the village and begs to go with him, no questions asked. “Why couldn't I have met you before?” he asks. “It was so late in so many ways.” They kiss and run into the darkness. In the morning, they are riding in a farmer’s wagon on a bed of hay. Marianne sleeps. The old farmer offers some breakfast when they get to his place. Picard asks if they can go faster; the farmer says that the horse, Celeste, is like Frsnce, old and beaten, too tough to die. What keeps her going? Courage.

In the kitchen, Picard learns from the farmer and his wife that their son is among the hostages. The sound of church bells tolling and pealing fills the air. All the bells in France are ringing for the hundred. When Marianne lights a candle for the couple’s son, Picard launches into a tirade that upsets and confuses her. He tries to think of a place they can go and get a new start and remembers Martinique. He tells her he will go to Paris to get money for their new life. He promises to meet her at the farmhouse.

Back in Paris, Bonet is deep in thought. His wife thinks that he is sorry for the man he supposedly killed. He is actually considering following through with the plan himself. Then Picard’s voice is heard, announcing himself to Mme. Bonet as Jean Dupont.

On the walk to Gestapo headquarters, he tells Bonet where to find Marianne. When Bonet asks what really brought him back, he doesn't know; He has been thinking about it all night. Maybe it was the look in Marianne’s face when she lit a candle. He says “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. They shake hands. In the office a Nazi Major scoffs at Picard’s surrender, the fourth in three days. “ The French capacity for magnificent gestures bores me to extinction,” he says. So he asks how Jean got past the guards on the bridge.

Picard now has a chance to escape, but he faces the Major and describes the strategy exactly as the saboteur described it to him.

In the farmhouse, Marianne is setting the table when Bonet knocks at the door. “Is he coming later?” she asks and reads the answer in his face: “No, never.”

”He didn’t want me to ask questions. ..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.[6] 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.[7]

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 naturist.[8] That month Robert Buckner was assigned to produce.[9]

Max Brand reportedly worked on the script.[10]

Paul Lukas - who had just had a big hit with Watch on the Rhine, was attached in July 1943.[11] Faye Emerson and Jean Sullivan were signed to support.[12]


Principal photography on Uncertain Glory started in August 1943.[13] During filming it was announced Warners would rush release plans on this and Passage to Marseilles, another drama set in occupied France.[14]

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.[15]


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."[16]

In 1946 Arthur Greene, a financier, bought up Thompson Productions.[17]

Selected clip

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

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


  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. Film review: "'Uncertain Glory'." Variety; April 5, 1944, p. 14.
  4. Walsh, Raoul (1974). Each man in his time; the life story of a director. Farrar, Straus and Giroux. p. 382.
  5. Higham, Charles (1979). Celebrity Circus. Delacorte Press. p. 315.
  6. "Of Local Origin." The New York Times, September 30, 1942, p. 29.
  7. Thomas et al. 1969, p. 136.
  8. SCREEN NEWS HERE AND IN HOLLYWOOD New York Times 21 June 1943: 13.
  9. Varietytitle=Buckner Guides Flynn. 30 June 1943. p. 16 https://archive.org/details/variety150-1943-06/page/n239?q=%22uncertain+glory%22%22errol+flynn%22. Missing or empty |title= (help)
  10. west view: Max Brand: the great storyteller who became reluctant 'king of the pulps' Nolan, William F. Los Angeles Times 6 May 1979: s3.
  11. "Screen news here and in Hollywood." The New York Times, July 17, 1943, p. 8.
  12. 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.
  13. "Film review: 'Uncertain Glory'." Harrison's Reports; April 8, 1944, p. 59.
  14. 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.
  15. ACTORS HAD TO HARVEST CROP Los Angeles Times 23 May 1944: A10.
  16. "'Uncertain Glory' Is An Able 'Acting Piece'." The Washington Post, June 10, 1944, p. 7.
  17. "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.

Catgeory:Warner Bros. films

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