Clarence Brown: The man from Happy Holler

Mary Pom ClaiborneOur Town Arts

We’re hearing a lot of enthusiastic feedback on the upcoming Clarence Brown Film Festival (August 16-20). In addition to the screening of seven of Brown’s films, there will be a host of talks about the director, his work and his youth in Knoxville.

Claude Jarman Jr.

On hand will be former child actor and director of the San Francisco International Film Festival, Claude Jarman Jr., who is coming in to discuss his roles in The Yearling and Intruder in the Dust. He was a young boy in Nashville when he was discovered by Brown to play the role of Jody Baxter, for which he received a special Academy Award for an outstanding child actor. He went on to play Chick Mallison in Brown’s Intruder in the Dust. He returned to acting in the late 1970s when he appeared in the mini-series, Centennial, based on a James Michener novel. Now in his mid-80s, he’s written a memoir, My Life and the Final Days of Hollywood, which he will be happy to sign.

We’re also thrilled to have Gwenda Young, author of Clarence Brown: Hollywood’s Forgotten Master, join the Festival all the way from University College Cork, Ireland. Young will be participating in panel discussions, introducing films and delivering the keynote address at 4 p.m. on Friday, August 18, at UTK’s Hodges Library auditorium.

Clarence Brown gives direction to a young Claude Jarman

Farran Smith Nehme, who has written about film and film history for the Criterion Collection, the New York Post, Barron’s, the Wall Street Journal, Film Comment, The Village Voice, and Sight & Sound as well as for her blog, Self-Styled Siren, will offer insight into classic Hollywood cinema and Brown’s role within it.

Musician Roger Miller from silent film scoring ensemble Anvil Orchestra will premiere his original score for Brown’s underseen 1924 thriller The Signal Tower. Knoxville History Project’s Jack Neely and retired cinema studies professor Chuck Maland will join the conversation on the remarkable life and career of Clarence Brown. Laura Still of Knoxville Walking Tours will lead us through Clarence Brown’s neighborhood in Happy Holler.

The full schedule and details are available at

Mary Pom Claiborne is assistant director for marketing, communications and development for Knox County Public Library


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