CLUNY BROWN (1946)

Dir. Ernst Lubitsch

Love and plumbing upset the staid life of a British manor and nearby village when young Cluny (Jennifer Jones), a girl with a passion for unclogging drains, signs on as chambermaid. After rising to stardom with dramatic roles under the guidance of mentor and future husband David O. Selznick, Jones revealed a rare flair for comedy under Ernst Lubitsch's direction in this sophisticated comedy, the last he would ever complete. Even while suffering from ill health, Lubitsch had perfect aim as he took comic potshots at snobbery and class-consciousness. Jones shocks her employers with her easy camaraderie with their houseguest, Czech refugee Charles Boyer. When she fixes the plumbing at prospective fiancé Richard Haydn's home, it creates a scandal that could brand her for life. Lubitsch fills the film with recognizable types—stuffy Lord Reginald Owen, pompous butler Ernest Cossart and, best of all, Haydn's disapproving mother, Una O'Connor. The director presents these characters with gentle mockery while reserving his true affections for knowing outsider Boyer and whimsical innocent Jones, a match made in Hollywood heaven.

CLUNY BROWN
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