B&W, 100 min.
Released: May 1, 1946 (20th Century Fox)
Cast: Jennifer Jones (as Cluny Brown), Charles Boyer, Peter Lawford, Helen Walker, Reginald Gardiner, Reginald Owen, Sir C. Aubrey Smith, Richard Haydn, Sara Allgood, Florence Bates.
Director: Ernst Lubitsch
Producer: Ernst Lubitsch
Complete Credits at IMDB
What is an uncle to do with a niece who has a passion for plumbing and innocently tends to have a little too much to drink in the company of strangers? Domestic service is the only option Uncle Arn (Billy Bevan) can think of, so he sends Cluny Brown (Jones) to work at Carmel Manor, a beautiful English country estate. Cluny's miserable days are brightened by Adam Belinski (Charles Boyer), who is a guest in the Carmel home. Cluny had previously met Belinski on one of her plumbing expeditions and they immediately bonded and recognized each other as "displaced souls". Cluny, however, puts all romantic notions aside and instead focuses her affection on Mr. Wilson (Richard Haydn), a nerdy chemist who still lives with his dour mother (Una O'Connor). Her future plans of becoming his wife, however, are dashed when Mr. Wilson and his mother frown upon Cluny's plumbing talents during the middle of Mrs. Wilson's birthday party. Mr. Belinski, feeling that he has lost Cluny to Mr. Wilson, leaves Carmel Manor. He leaves Cluny a gift and a special message which makes Cluny realize his true intentions. Will Cluny catch Mr. Belinski before he gets away?
Cluny Brown (based on the novel by Margery Sharp) was the last film to be completed by Ernst Lubitsch, a director who was adept at satirical and sophisticated comedies. Jennifer started work on this film following the completion of Duel In The Sun but post production problems delayed the release of that film. As a result, Cluny Brown opened six months earlier than Duel. True to Lubitsch form, Cluny Brown was a film that offered deft humor while poking fun at upper class England.
It is a shame that Jennifer only made two comedies (the other being Beat The Devil) in her entire career because she obviously had a knack for comic timing. Her performance in Cluny Brown is seen today by many as her most relaxed and displays none of the neurotic shadings that crept into some of her later films.
Interesting Tidbit - This film was filmed on the Song of Bernadette set. The crew restructured the town to look like a modern English village.
Back to Film Index