List Film

Cluny Brown (4 stars)

(PG) 100min (BFI)

Cluny Brown


Ernst Lubitsch’s famous lightness of touch is all over the final film completed by the master of sophisticated wit and classy style. Having skewered American society with a series of punchy Hollywood romantic comedies such as Ninotchka and The Shop Around the Corner, the gifted German émigré turned his attention to pre-war British society with this marvellous 1946 romp. Spunky Jennifer Jones plays the titular plumber’s niece, whose unconventional relationship with smooth Charles Boyer’s intellectual Czech refugee causes a scandal in polite English society.

Lubitsch’s line in satirical commentary on Nazi Germany (most famously exemplified in 1942’s To Be or Not To Be) remains in the background here, but snobbery upstairs and downstairs is given a thoroughly enjoyable going over in this typically smartly script and well-acted classic. Available for the first time on DVD, extras include the original trailer and an illustrated booklet.


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