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Tuesday, December 2, 2014

Cluny Brown (1946)

This is the last film that Ernst Lubitsch finished, and while he was recovering from a massive heart attack that left him with congestive heart failure and not much time to live, it bears many of the touches that are associated with his work, and is delightful all these many years after it was made.

Cluny Brown is an enthusiastic, cheerful, and naive girl who 's greatest talent is for plumbing.  That is not a job for a woman, and her uncle quickly gets her a job as a parlor maid in the English countryside, hoping that will keep her out of trouble.  Before she goes, she meets Adam Belinski, a Czech writer who has escaped the Nazi's occupation of his country.  He is quite taken with Cluny, and coincidentally they end up on the same estate--he as a guest and she as the hired help.  The servants have a great deal of trouble with both of them.  Cluny doesn't know her place and Belinski treats everyone as equals, and they are a match made in heaven.  Belinski knows and eventually Cluny figures it out herself.  There are some wonderfully suggestive scenes that got through the scrutiny of the Production Code censors, some well timed comedic dialogue, and a well told story.  There are some wonderful characters who make the classism of the English a thing to laugh about rather than marvel at, and it is a very enjoyable movie.

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