powered by AFI
DVDs from TCM Shop
According to a pre-production news item in Hollywood Reporter, in June 1939, Fox announced that it was planning to make a film based on this story. In response, Warner Bros. claimed priority rights to the story. The working titles of this film were The Old 69th and Father Duffy of the Fighting 69th. Pre-production news items in Hollywood Reporter note that Colonel Bill Donovan, the commander of the Irish 69th regiment, was hired as technical adviser for the film and George Boothby, the story adviser on the film, was written into the script. However, because the film credits Captain John T. Prout, a member of the original 69th regiment, as technical adviser, their participation in the final film has not been confirmed. Other pre-production news items in Hollywood Reporter note that Warner Bros. decided to increase the budget for the film and replaced producer Bryan Foy with Lou Edelman. The studio built an exact replica of Camp Miles, the World War I training camp on Long Island, at Providencia Ranch, Universal City, CA. Another item in Hollywood Reporter adds that Jeffrey Lynn replaced John Payne in the role of "Joyce Kilmer" when Payne was dropped from the studio's contract list. According to news items in Hollywood Reporter, the film, based on the exploits of the real Father Francis Duffy, featured actual war footage shot by Brendan. Joyce Kilmer was the author of the famous poem "Trees," and was killed in battle on July 30, 1918 above Ourcq, France. Kilmer served in the 165th regiment, however, not the 69th.