Cluny Brown (1946)

100-101 mins | Comedy-drama | June 1946

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HISTORY

The film's opening title card reads: "Ernst Lubitsch's production of Cluny Brown ." The film opens with the following written prologue: "There was nothing important going on in London on a quiet Sunday afternoon in June 1938. The most exciting event of the day was Mr. Hilary Ames's cocktail party and even that was exciting only to Mr. Ames." Margery Sharp's novel was first published in Ladies Home Journal between Jul and Sep 1944. According to studio publicity materials contained in the file on othe film in the AMPAS Library, Darryl F. Zanuck and Lubitsch purchased the rights to Sharp's novel prior to its publication. According to materials contained in the Twentieth Century-Fox Produced Scripts Collection, located at the UCLA Arts--Special Collections Library, James Hilton worked on several treatments and a screenplay for the project from Jul--Dec 1944.
       Although a Jun 1944 HR news item notes that RKO was to loan out Rita Corday for a role, she is not in the film. An Apr 1945 HR news item notes that John Cromwell was originally slated to direct the picture, but after the project was delayed due to Jennifer Jones's appearance in Duel in the Sun (see below), Lubitsch, who was only the producer at the time, stepped in to direct. Cluny Brown marked Jones's first assignment at Twentieth Century-Fox under a joint agreement between Selznick and Fox, and also marked her first comedic role. For additional information about Jones's agreement with Selznick and Fox, please See Entry for Laura . Although the SAB notes that the film was completed on 1 Apr 1946, the ... More Less

The film's opening title card reads: "Ernst Lubitsch's production of Cluny Brown ." The film opens with the following written prologue: "There was nothing important going on in London on a quiet Sunday afternoon in June 1938. The most exciting event of the day was Mr. Hilary Ames's cocktail party and even that was exciting only to Mr. Ames." Margery Sharp's novel was first published in Ladies Home Journal between Jul and Sep 1944. According to studio publicity materials contained in the file on othe film in the AMPAS Library, Darryl F. Zanuck and Lubitsch purchased the rights to Sharp's novel prior to its publication. According to materials contained in the Twentieth Century-Fox Produced Scripts Collection, located at the UCLA Arts--Special Collections Library, James Hilton worked on several treatments and a screenplay for the project from Jul--Dec 1944.
       Although a Jun 1944 HR news item notes that RKO was to loan out Rita Corday for a role, she is not in the film. An Apr 1945 HR news item notes that John Cromwell was originally slated to direct the picture, but after the project was delayed due to Jennifer Jones's appearance in Duel in the Sun (see below), Lubitsch, who was only the producer at the time, stepped in to direct. Cluny Brown marked Jones's first assignment at Twentieth Century-Fox under a joint agreement between Selznick and Fox, and also marked her first comedic role. For additional information about Jones's agreement with Selznick and Fox, please See Entry for Laura . Although the SAB notes that the film was completed on 1 Apr 1946, the last HR production chart listing appeared on 8 Feb 1946, when shooting production was suspended for two days due to Lubitsch's bout with the flu. Peter Lawford, Reginald Owen and Richard Haydn were all borrowed from M-G-M to appear in the picture. According to a modern source, the village scenes utilized a redressed set from The Song Of Bernadette (see below). On 27 Jan 1947, Lux Radio Theatre broadcast a radio version of Sharp's story, starring Olivia De Havilland and Charles Boyer. Screen Directors' Playhouse also broadcast a radio version of the story on 23 Nov 1950. More Less

SOURCE CITATIONS
SOURCE
DATE
PAGE
Box Office
4 May 1946.
---
Daily Variety
1 May 46
p. 3.
Film Daily
1 May 46
p. 6.
Hollywood Reporter
27 Oct 44
p. 1.
Hollywood Reporter
9 Apr 45
p. 1.
Hollywood Reporter
22 May 45
p. 1.
Hollywood Reporter
4 Jun 45
p. 3.
Hollywood Reporter
13 Nov 45
p. 8.
Hollywood Reporter
27 Nov 45
p. 3.
Hollywood Reporter
30 Nov 45
p. 16, 21
Hollywood Reporter
13 Feb 46
p. 3.
Hollywood Reporter
1 May 46
p. 3.
Hollywood Reporter
7 Jun 46
p. 9.
Life
27 May 46
pp. 125-27.
Motion Picture Herald Product Digest
23 Feb 46
p. 2859.
Motion Picture Herald Product Digest
27 Apr 46
p. 2961.
New York Times
3 Jun 46
p. 27.
Variety
1 May 46
p. 8.
CAST
PRODUCTION CREDITS
NAME
PARENT COMPANY
DISTRIBUTION COMPANY
NAME
CREDITED AS
CREDIT
DIRECTORS
Asst dir
PRODUCER
PHOTOGRAPHY
Dir of photog
2d cam
ART DIRECTORS
Art dir
FILM EDITOR
Film ed
SET DECORATORS
Set dec
Assoc
COSTUMES
MUSIC
Mus dir
Orch arr
SOUND
Mus mixer
Mus mixer
VISUAL EFFECTS
Spec photog eff
Transparency projection shots
Transparency projection shots
Transparency projection shots
MAKEUP
Makeup artist
PRODUCTION MISC
Research dir
Research asst
Accent coach
SOURCES
LITERARY
Based on the novel Cluny Brown by Margery Sharp (Boston, 1944).
AUTHOR
DETAILS
Release Date:
June 1946
Premiere Information:
New York opening: week of 3 June 1946
Los Angeles opening: 12 June 1946
Production Date:
29 November 1945--early April 1946
Copyright Claimant:
Twentieth Century-Fox Film Corp.
Copyright Date:
1 June 1946
Copyright Number:
LP477
Physical Properties:
Sound
Western Electric Recording
Black and White
Duration(in mins):
100-101
Length(in feet):
9,100
Length(in reels):
10
Country:
United States
PCA No:
11436
Passed by NBR:
No
SYNOPSIS

On a Sunday afternoon in London in June of 1938, Mr. Hilary Ames frets because he has been unable to get a plumber to fix a stopped-up sink, and it is now one-half hour before his planned cocktail party. When a stranger, Adam Belinski, arrives, Ames mistakes him for a plumber, but Adam quickly informs him that he came to borrow money from an absent friend from whom Ames is subletting. The attractive Cluny Brown then arrives, announcing that she is the niece of a plumber Ames had called, who is unavailable at the moment, and that she would like to have a try at fixing the sink. As she works, she complains to Adam that her uncle Arn always rebukes her for not knowing her place. Adam replies that one's place is wherever one is happy, and that happiness is a personal adjustment to environment, even if it is as radical as "feeding squirrels to the nuts." After the drain is fixed, Cluny celebrates by accepting Adam's offer of cocktails. When Uncle Arn then arrives and finds Cluny drunk, he indignantly informs her that she is going into service as a domestic. After they leave, Adam pockets the payment that Arn refused. Later, during the party, Adam passes out drunk, and awakens to discover Andrew Carmel, the naïve scion of a wealthy family, looking at him in awe. Andrew explains to Betty Cream, a blasé socialite with whom he is in love, that Adam is a great Czech professor and writer, and one of Hitler's worst enemies. When Adam, who is facing eviction for non-payment of rent, mentions that he is ... +


On a Sunday afternoon in London in June of 1938, Mr. Hilary Ames frets because he has been unable to get a plumber to fix a stopped-up sink, and it is now one-half hour before his planned cocktail party. When a stranger, Adam Belinski, arrives, Ames mistakes him for a plumber, but Adam quickly informs him that he came to borrow money from an absent friend from whom Ames is subletting. The attractive Cluny Brown then arrives, announcing that she is the niece of a plumber Ames had called, who is unavailable at the moment, and that she would like to have a try at fixing the sink. As she works, she complains to Adam that her uncle Arn always rebukes her for not knowing her place. Adam replies that one's place is wherever one is happy, and that happiness is a personal adjustment to environment, even if it is as radical as "feeding squirrels to the nuts." After the drain is fixed, Cluny celebrates by accepting Adam's offer of cocktails. When Uncle Arn then arrives and finds Cluny drunk, he indignantly informs her that she is going into service as a domestic. After they leave, Adam pockets the payment that Arn refused. Later, during the party, Adam passes out drunk, and awakens to discover Andrew Carmel, the naïve scion of a wealthy family, looking at him in awe. Andrew explains to Betty Cream, a blasé socialite with whom he is in love, that Adam is a great Czech professor and writer, and one of Hitler's worst enemies. When Adam, who is facing eviction for non-payment of rent, mentions that he is a man without a home, Andrew, thinking that Adam means that he is a political refugee, takes pity, gives him some money and invites him for a drink. Soon after, Cluny goes to work as a parlor-maid at the Carmel's country manor and is invited for tea by the Carmels, Andrew's parents, Henry and Alice, when she is mistaken for a guest of their neighbor. After they learn that she is their new maid, they politely but abruptly leave her to the butler, Mr. Syrett, and the housekeeper, Mrs. Maile, who instruct her as to the proper etiquette of a servant. Meanwhile, Andrew has arranged for Adam to be a house guest at the manor, as he fears Adam is in danger from the Nazis in London, while he, Andrew, returns to London to pursue the flighty Betty. That night, when Cluny serves dinner, she drops the tray upon seeing Adam and exclaims "squirrels to the nuts!" Although the Carmels want to dismiss Cluny for her unseemly behavior, Adam talks them out of it. Afterward, a tearful Cluny is comforted by Adam's declaration that he, too, feels out of place there, and Cluny then gratefully embraces him and vows undying friendship. Cluny soon becomes enthralled with the prospect of becoming the wife of the town's pompous chemist, Jonathan W. Wilson, who lives with his disagreeable mother. Cluny confides to the crestfallen Adam, who harbors romantic feelings for her, that as an orphan, she hopes to find her place in life as Wilson's wife. Soon after, Andrew arrives at the manor after a row with Betty only to find that she has been invited for the weekend by his mother. During Mrs. Wilson's birthday celebration that evening, Wilson is about to announce his engagement to Cluny, when awful sounds emerge from the bathroom, and Cluny impulsively offers to fix the pipes. Mrs. Wilson and her guests are aghast at Cluny's behavior, and once they are alone, Wilson rebukes her. Later that night, Adam enters Betty's bedroom in his dressing gown, ostensibly to plead Andrew's case. Betty, sensing Adam's desire, orders him to leave, and when he refuses, she screams nonchalantly and continues to read her book. Andrew is incensed to see Adam leave Betty's room, but when Adam says he mistook her door for the bathroom, Betty corroborates his story and claims that she thought he was a burglar. Lady Carmel then has a talk with Betty, who admits that she plans to marry Andrew and agrees to finally tell him so. The next day, Henry tells Adam that Andrew has grown into a man overnight, and that he plans to join the R.A.F. because of some man named Hitler. After Adam explains who Hitler is, Henry is filled with fatherly pride. When Betty announces that she and Andrew are engaged, Adam, who now plans to leave, offers congratulations, but Andrew, not believing his story of the previous evening, challenges him to a fight. Betty forestalls the brawl, however, by informing Andrew that they owe their engagement to Adam's impetuous behavior. Before leaving, Adam learns that Cluny is not feeling well and so asks Mrs. Maile to deliver his farewell gift to her. Cluny pursues Adam to the train to thank him, and when she relates her disgrace at Mrs. Wilson's birthday party and renounces her foolish behavior, Adam orders her onto the train, and once inside, he throws her servant's cap and apron out the window. He then proposes, and to support his new wife, Adam revises his plans to write a book on morality and expediency, but instead moves to New York and authors a series of murder mysteries which become best sellers. +

Legend
Viewed by AFI
Partially Viewed
Offscreen Credit
Name Occurs Before Title
AFI Life Achievement Award

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