Jan 3, 2009
Cluny Brown

The picture above shows Charles Boyer and Jennifer Jones in a scene from the end of Cluny Brown. Jones is at her most beautiful in this and in some other movies of the 40s (Portrait of Jennie, Since You Went Away), and in this shot she seems particularly beautiful and glamorous.

She doesn’t start out that way though. She plays a working class girl who is living with her uncle, a plumber. One day she takes a call when her uncle is unavailable, and meets up with Boyer, an exiled Czech writer. One thing leads to another, and her uncle packs her off to a place called Carmel Friars, where she is to work as a maid.

Cluny, for some reason, does not have that in-born British sense of class, and is inclined to treat everyone as her equal, while the rest of the world is determined that she should learn, and stay in her place.

There is a fair amount of satire that involves class snobbery, British ignorance and apathy, (and ultimate grit), but it is all done with a delicate rapier. The wound may not be as wide as a church yard nor as deep as a well, but it serves to skewer to aristocracy and class distinctions.

Love triumphs, needless to say.

TCM showed this on Christmas eve, and Robert Osborne said that while it wasn’t a Christmas movie, they seemed like a good group to spend time with at Christmas. He’s not always right, but this time he definitely is.

“Squirrels to the nuts.”