With his last completed film, the sly, suggestive comedy of manners Cluny Brown, Ernst Lubitsch brought to the screen one of the most irrepressible, irresistible Hollywood heroines of the forties. The niece of a plumber in a Britain on the brink of World War II, the film’s title character (Jennifer Jones) exhibits an enthusiasm (not to mention talent) for her uncle’s trade that refuses to be contained, even as he sends her off to work as a parlormaid, in order to initiate her into a ladylike subservience more befitting of her station. Among the supplements on our brand-new edition of Cluny Brown is a conversation between Molly Haskell and Farran Smith Nehme in which the two critics gamely plumb the significance of the free-spirited protagonist. In the above clip from the piece, Haskell notes how rare such a “woman with a métier” was in the cinema of the time, while Nehme situates Cluny, who wins the affections of Charles Boyer’s Czech refugee, in Lubitsch’s long line of highly idiosyncratic—yet eminently lovable—career women, also including The Shop Around the Corner’s Klara Novak (Margaret Sullavan) and To Be or Not to Be’s Maria Tura (Carole Lombard).
All About Mankiewicz
One of the most celebrated Hollywood writer-directors of his time, Joseph L. Mankiewicz offers a window into the way he sees his characters in this illuminating clip from an archival interview.
Charisma to Burn: Béatrice Dalle’s Incandescent Debut in Betty Blue
The young French actor didn’t require much direction for her first screen role. As the film’s director and cinematographer recall, she quickly proved herself to be a born star.
How Paweł Pawlikowski Reimagined His Parents’ Fiery Romance for the Big Screen
As the director explains to filmmaker Alejandro G. Iñárritu, the love story at the heart of the Oscar-nominated drama Cold War has its roots in his own family history.
A Daytrippers Trio Looks Back on Their Indie Miracle
Director Greg Mottola reunites with two cast members of his debut feature—Liev Schreiber and Parker Posey—to reminisce about the joys and trials they experienced on the set of this shoestring marvel.