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So why do you think Cluny tells Adam that he's "not her type" and that they must resist any inclination to be romantic with each other? Is it because he's "out of place", like her? She likes Wilson because he knows and is happy in his place?

 

You know, I have to watch that scene again.

 

I take Cluny as a young girl who is entering the "world" (especially, love and romance) for the first time. Like many young girls, she's being told to be one thing, to seek one thing. That's coming from her uncle and Society. Wilson offers her something she values... place. She'd like a home and a family. He's "steady as she goes." He's the freighter in the bay. But Wilson's place truly isn't her place. She has to find out the hard way that her place is not with him. Eventually, I believe she starts to piece things together for herself. She starts to realize where her place could possibly be.

 

I guess you could say Cluny Brown could be seen as a "female awakening" film.

 

Say, it just occurred to me...is Una O'Connor's constant clearing of her throat because her pipe is clogged, too?

 

Hey! Now that is absolutely brilliant! I believe you've got something there. I love it!

 

Those pipes haven't been banged for years. :D

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I take Cluny as a young girl who is entering the "world" (especially, love and romance) for the first time. Like many young girls, she's being told to be one thing, to seek one thing. That's coming from her uncle and Society. Wilson offers her something she values... place. She'd like a home and a family. He's "steady as she goes."

 

Yes, Cluny was certainly the naive young girl going out into society with certain expectations told to her by her uncle, but she wanted more than just a home and a family, silly. She wanted to dream. She wanted to live her dream.

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>He originally gets her drunk, turning her into a "Persian cat," freeing her of her inhibitions. That was Belinski being Belinski. But then Cluny's sweet and innocent nature overtakes him. Cluny, unknowingly, knows how to manipulate Belinski.

 

I love this! You are right on it! And this is what Irene Bullock does to Godfrey. Godfrey and Cornelia could never be a couple, because Cornelia is not a free spirit, nor does she have the inherent goodness or imagination of an Irene - Irene is perfectly at home with Godfrey's chosen way of life, and his friends from the dump. Irene is deceptively simple - she has an uncanny way of saying things that are far too deep, just like Cluny. She does not see people's background, she simply sees people - as does Cluny. The background simply doesn't exist.

 

But then, something makes Cluny goes headlong in the opposite direction - toward Wilson, maybe because she sees that this is what people do - they care deeply about backgrounds and wealth and what is owned and what is theirs. Is she trying to fit in to a society that is less than what she imagines it is? Her imagination is so big, it thinks that everything must be wonderful, even when it's not.

 

>So why do you think Cluny tells Adam that he's "not her type" and that they must resist any inclination to be romantic with each other? Is it because he's "out of place", like her? She likes Wilson because he knows and is happy in his place?

 

>I take Cluny as a young girl who is entering the "world" (especially, love and romance) for the first time. Like many young girls, she's being told to be one thing, to seek one thing. That's coming from her uncle and Society. Wilson offers her something she values... place. She'd like a home and a family. He's "steady as she goes." He's the freighter in the bay. But Wilson's place truly isn't her place. She has to find out the hard way that her place is not with him. Eventually, I believe she starts to piece things together for herself. She starts to realize where her place could possibly be.

 

>Yes, Cluny was certainly the naive young girl going out into society with certain expectations told to her by her uncle, but she wanted more than just a home and a family, silly. She wanted to dream. She wanted to live her dream.

 

Again, this is a great discussion, you three!

 

Is it that Cluny, being a young girl, thinks the "place" is the important part of the dream, not the "person"? If you are with the right person, any place you are is home, but she does not really know this yet? This is a part of the movie that confused me - how Cluny could be a bit deluded about Wilson and Belinski. Any thoughts would be most helpful.

 

Edited by: JackFavell on Apr 4, 2010 6:32 PM

 

Edited by: JackFavell on Apr 4, 2010 6:34 PM

 

Edited by: JackFavell on Apr 4, 2010 6:35 PM because Whew! I just kept thinking of stuff

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>

> I love this! You are right on it! And this is what Irene Bullock does to Godfrey. Godfrey and Cornelia could never be a couple, because Cornelia is not a free spirit, nor does she have the inherent goodness or imagination of an Irene - Irene is perfectly at home with Godfrey's chosen way of life, and his friends from the dump. Irene is deceptively simple - she has an uncanny way of saying things that are far too deep, just like Cluny. She does not see people's background, she simply sees people - as does Cluny. The background simply doesn't exist.

>

> But then, something makes Cluny goes headlong in the opposite direction - toward Wilson, maybe because she sees that this is what people do - they care deeply about backgrounds and wealth and what is owned and what is theirs. Is she trying to fit in to a society that is less than what she imagines it is? Her imagination is so big, it thinks that everything must be wonderful, even when it's not.

>

 

That was beautiful Jackie!!! I LOVE your comparison to Irene and I can completely see that now. They are both very pure and uncomplicated in their view of their environment. Remember how Irene suddenly saw how the "scavenger hunt" was inappropriate, using humans as objects.

 

>

> Is it that Cluny, being a young girl, thinks the "place" is the important part of the dream, not the "person"? If you are with the right person, any place you are is home, but she does not really know this yet? This is a part of the movie that confused me - how Cluny could be a bit deluded about Wilson and Belinski. Any thoughts would be most helpful.

>

 

I wonder if it's because her uncle just pounded it into her that she "needs to know her place" and she didn't yet get what Adam told her about "your place is where you are happy". Cluny seemed to be trying for a while to adapt her ideas of what happiness is to where she found herself. That little world of the Carmels everyone has a rigidly defined place and she seems to think that in Wilson she has the chance to be a part of that.

 

Oh, I love when Adam, like a little gnome is sitting on a tree stump on the path Cluny and Wilson are walking along and Adam really grills Wilson. He immediately says "I think we understand each other, don't we Mr Wilson?" hahahaaa! But Wilson does NOT understand Adam, he's just afraid of offending him once he learns he was a guest at Lord and Lady Carmel's, not a friend of the butler and housekeeper as he assumed. The irony that Adam is completely out of place at the Carmel's, yet at ease there, whereas the butler and housekeeper are totally a part of the fabric (almost like furnishings) of the place, yet are never at ease.

 

I don't know that's just my musings on your questions for this moment! I may change my mind after reading more of what you guys have to say.

 

Such a richness of contrasting ideas and ironies.

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>Oh, I love when Adam, like a little gnome is sitting on a tree stump on the path Cluny and Wilson are walking along and Adam really grills Wilson. He immediately says "I think we understand each other, don't we Mr Wilson?" hahahaaa! But Wilson does NOT understand Adam, he's just afraid of offending him once he learns he was a guest at Lord and Lady Carmel's, not a friend of the butler and housekeeper as he assumed. The irony that Adam is completely out of place at the Carmel's, yet at ease there, whereas the butler and housekeeper are totally a part of the fabric (almost like furnishings) of the place, yet are never at ease.

 

You are really hitting something deep in the movie, and I don't know if I can put it into words as well as you can. It's all about the many contrasts in society and how foolish they are - if you are at home in a fancy house as both Adam and Cluny start out to be, then people assume you are to the manor born. Adam is at ease everywhere - he is exactly like Cluny when he walks into the Carmels..... they accept him as belonging. But he is no different from Cluny, who ends up getting booted downstairs only because she is found to be "of the working class". They could not tell the difference between her and Betty Cream if they were not TOLD there WAS a difference by someone else! :)

 

But the fact that you hit on this "at ease" thing makes it so much deeper. What is it about a Sara Allgood or a Richard Haydn that just screams, "I'm in my place, and there is no other for me!"? Most directors would have made the upper class snobs more rigid than the working class ones. But Una and Sara and the butler and Richard are all practically shrieking that the status quo must be adhered to. Why is that?

 

And now somehow I've stumbled my way into thinking about *Love Me Tonight* - which has a very similar feel, and one could mistake for a Lubitsch film and was probably inspired by him....

 

but the most fun in the movie are these little scenes in which people completely misunderstand what Adam or Cluny is talking about.... they have such a smallness about them, whereas Adam and Cluny are thinking big picture all the time. The only ones who seem to grasp them at all, are C. Aubrey Smith, maybe and Betty Cream....

 

Edited by: JackFavell on Apr 4, 2010 7:35 PM

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>

> You are really hitting something deep in the movie, and I don't know if I can put it into words as well as you can. It's all about the many contrasts in society and how foolish they are - if you are at home in a fancy house as both Adam and Cluny start out to be, then people assume you are to the manor born. Adam is at ease everywhere - he is exactly like Cluny when he walks into the Carmels..... they accept him as belonging. But he is no different from Cluny, who ends up getting booted downstairs only because she is found to be "of the working class". They could not tell the difference between her and Betty Cream if they were not TOLD there WAS a difference by someone else! :)

>

 

You've expressed it pretty darn good! They have to be TOLD because they don't really think for themselves like Adam and Cluny do. They think what others think, what others tell them is right to think. The Mailes (Sara Allgood and the butler) are thinking according to tradition handed down for generations in English society, as do the Carmels. Which leads me to think, along with Richard Haydn's rather involved "lecture" to Cluny about English pride and place (he starts out by asking her if she "would like to see where you are?" That is exactly what Cluny wants, to find out where she is, where she thinks she belongs, but Haydn is literal, he takes her to a map on the wall and illustrating his immobility, shows that he's never wandered far from where he was born, and there he will stay until he dies, he asserts with smugness). This all leads me to believe that Lubitsch was satirizing English isolationism, albeit very tolerantly. AFter all, he sends in a very Continental character in Belinsky to "ring their bells" and creates Cluny Brown to "bang their pipes". :)

 

Interestingly, the couple leave England...their place is decidedly not there...for America, the land of the misfit toys. :D

 

> But the fact that you hit on this "at ease" thing makes it so much deeper. What is it about a Sara Allgood or a Richard Haydn that just screams, "I'm in my place, and there is no other for me!"? Most directors would have made the upper class snobs more rigid than the working class ones. But Una and Sara and the butler and Richard are all practically shrieking that the status quo must be adhered to. Why is that?

>

 

I'm speculating, but I do know that in England it often was/is the serving class that could be even more rigid and hierarchal than their employers. Lubitsch may have found this fascinating and delightful fodder for his satirical gifts.

 

 

> And now somehow I've stumbled my way into thinking about *Love Me Tonight* - which has a very similar feel, and one could mistake for a Lubitsch film and was probably inspired by him....

>

> but the most fun in the movie are these little scenes in which people completely misunderstand what Adam or Cluny is talking about.... they have such a smallness about them, whereas Adam and Cluny are thinking big picture all the time. The only ones who seem to grasp them at all, are C. Aubrey Smith, maybe and Betty Cream....

>

 

Absolutely...the Colonel is lovely, not hide bound (though C. Aubrey Smith himself, I read, was VERY offended by this film, and declared it was a slam against the British). I'm still working out Betty Cream. Right now she just seems to be about making sure no one discomfits her too much. She wants life to be pleasant and amusing and cannot conceive of taking anything too seriously. You said it best when you described her as being bred to what she was, to her place, and being deliciously satisfied with it. It puzzles her that others are getting stirred up about things, ha! She's very funny, very above it all. In a way, it makes her very tolerant. She gets along.

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>You've expressed it pretty darn good! They have to be TOLD because they don't really think for themselves like Adam and Cluny do. They think what others think, what others tell them is right to think. The Mailes (Sara Allgood and the butler) are thinking according to tradition handed down for generations in English society, as do the Carmels. Which leads me to think, along with Richard Haydn's rather involved "lecture" to Cluny about English pride and place (he starts out by asking her if she "would like to see where you are?" That is exactly what Cluny wants, to find out where she is, where she thinks she belongs, but Haydn is literal, he takes her to a map on the wall and illustrating his immobility, shows that he's never wandered far from where he was born, and there he will stay until he dies, he asserts with smugness). This all leads me to believe that Lubitsch was satirizing English isolationism, albeit very tolerantly. AFter all, he sends in a very Continental character in Belinsky to "ring their bells" and creates Cluny Brown to "bang their pipes". :)

 

>Interestingly, the couple leave England...their place is decidedly not there...for America, the land of the misfit toys. :D

 

This is so GOOD! Island of misfit toys, ha ha! I love that! I cannot possibly reply to it tonight because my brain is extremely foggy, like stuffy old England and her residents. Anyway, I'd like to talk tomorrow if you can wait.

 

Shall we have a go? :)

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Howdy, BitterSweetT -- Yes, Cluny was certainly the naive young girl going out into society with certain expectations told to her by her uncle, but she wanted more than just a home and a family, silly. She wanted to dream. She wanted to live her dream.

 

I believe she was just trying to find her place, her happiness. She tried to do what others expected of her, but that backfired... horribly.

 

How do, Denver -- I love this! You are right on it! And this is what Irene Bullock does to Godfrey. Godfrey and Cornelia could never be a couple, because Cornelia is not a free spirit, nor does she have the inherent goodness or imagination of an Irene - Irene is perfectly at home with Godfrey's chosen way of life, and his friends from the dump. Irene is deceptively simple - she has an uncanny way of saying things that are far too deep, just like Cluny. She does not see people's background, she simply sees people - as does Cluny. The background simply doesn't exist.

 

I agree with you. :P I'd say the biggest difference between Irene and Cluny is that Irene is fully aware of her dramatics. Like a little girl, she's attempting to woo her Godfrey. Cluny is just trying to fit in, find her place. But both are very childlike, just in different ways. It's the childlike qualities that really appeals to their older admirers.

 

But then, something makes Cluny goes headlong in the opposite direction - toward Wilson, maybe because she sees that this is what people do - they care deeply about backgrounds and wealth and what is owned and what is theirs. Is she trying to fit in to a society that is less than what she imagines it is? Her imagination is so big, it thinks that everything must be wonderful, even when it's not.

 

I'd say she's trying to make others happy, not herself. Will this bring her happiness? Is this her place? Just look at how happy she is when she helps Wilson and his mother with their plumbing. She's thrilled. She has done something for those she cares about and herself. The shot of her face after learning she has ruined everything is beautiful.

 

So why do you think Cluny tells Adam that he's "not her type" and that they must resist any inclination to be romantic with each other? Is it because he's "out of place", like her? She likes Wilson because he knows and is happy in his place?

 

Because she's a woman! :P

 

Is it that Cluny, being a young girl, thinks the "place" is the important part of the dream, not the "person"?

 

I believe this is part of the learning process. This is usually what parents and Society preach to girls.

 

If you are with the right person, any place you are is home, but she does not really know this yet?

 

Correct. And I think she starts to learn this. It's how a person makes you feel when you are with them, but, also, when you are without them.

 

This is a part of the movie that confused me - how Cluny could be a bit deluded about Wilson and Belinski. Any thoughts would be most helpful.

 

Different kinds of ships. :) I guess you find this in many comedies of the time, such as His Girl Friday, The Awful Truth, Bringing Up Baby, etc.

 

And I completely agree with Miss G about Lubitsch making a commentary of England and their being stuck in their place. They need to create their own "Belinskis." The idealists, the romantics, the imaginative.

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BitterSweetT

 

how am i bittersweet? do you really mean that, frankie? i'm pouting!

 

I believe she was just trying to find her place, her happiness. She tried to do what others expected of her, but that backfired... horribly.

 

Yes she needed to find her little niche in her world that made her happy. What i loved about her relationship with Belinski was that they didn't hold back from each other in various ways and how he just loosened her up a bit to relax and have some fun.

 

But both are very childlike, just in different ways. It's the childlike qualities that really appeals to their older admirers.

 

and you just love it, because you can relate to them in this way, right. ;);)

 

I'd say she's trying to make others happy, not herself. Will this bring her happiness? Is this her place? Just look at how happy she is when she helps Wilson and his mother with their plumbing. She's thrilled. She has done something for those she cares about and herself. The shot of her face after learning she has ruined everything is beautiful

 

On the contrary, Dutch Boy, I think she is trying to do both. :D I think in a way, she was trying to make herself happy without realizing it, b/c she had such high hopes for herself in this new awakening in her life. Yet She was also enthralled with helping others as well in the process, because it made her feel as if she was doing something wonderful with her life and with others around her.

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how am i bittersweet? do you really mean that, frankie? i'm pouting!

 

:P

 

Yes she needed to find her little niche in her world that made her happy. What i loved about her relationship with Belinski was that they didn't hold back from each other in various ways and how he just loosened her up a bit to relax and have some fun.

 

He got her drunk! That'll do the trick! :P

 

I always thought Cluny was loose and relaxed when she was herself. When she's attempting to fit into a place, she loses her way.

 

But both are very childlike, just in different ways. It's the childlike qualities that really appeals to their older admirers.

 

and you just love it, because you can relate to them in this way, right.

 

Yes! I'm a little boy!

 

On the contrary, Dutch Boy, I think she is trying to do both. I think in a way, she was trying to make herself happy without realizing it, b/c she had such high hopes for herself in this new awakening in her life. Yet She was also enthralled with helping others as well in the process, because it made her feel as if she was doing something wonderful with her life and with others around her.

 

Cluny definitely thought she had found her place. What she didn't realize is that she wasn't accepted for who she truly was. If she was to belong, she'd have to be exactly how the Wilsons demanded her to be. She had to fit into their little box.

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Is this group open to all, or must one be a super secret thread agent in order to join.

 

Who let you in?! I gave specific super secret orders to keep out the crazy chicks! :P

 

Maybe we'll make an exception for someone who is such a big Cecil Cooper fan.

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how am i bittersweet? do you really mean that, frankie? i'm pouting!

 

:P

 

GASP!! Yeah well.....sic him!

 

angry-elephant-talamati.jpg

 

He got her drunk! That'll do the trick!

 

technically he was just trying to help her! she wasn't a floozy!

 

I always thought Cluny was loose and relaxed when she was herself. When she's attempting to fit into a place, she loses her way.

 

yes, but when she was uncomfortable in certain situations, it wasn't hard to notice, and Belinski could see it too! he was being sweet! I know, she tried so hard to fit in and she just needed to realize that being herself was her own way of fitting in.

 

Yes! I'm a little boy!

 

you should get that printed on a t-shirt! heehee!

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CineMusings on "CLUNY BROWN"

 

?One can?t be foolish and have a place in life. Can one??

 

Aaaah, the eternal question, asked by Cluny Brown and answered by the Master of the Absurd: Ernst Lubitsch. I'll go back and thoroughly read what you all have to say about this wonderful little movie, but first, may I add my observations.

 

Ohhhhhhh I get it. Lubitsch has his characters say the opposite of what they mean. He?s master-fully delicate the way he twists words and situations. Things are misconstrued and misunderstood. People talk at cross-purposes and metaphors are slung fast and furious like hash in a diner; (talk of ?plumbing? and ?sitting a horse well.?) Lubitsch proffers serious commentary on the politics of the day or social mores to make those thorns easier to swallow. You don?t realize it?s a barb until...it comes out the other end (?) and gives you a kick later. For some, Lubitsch is an acquired taste. For me, it depends on who he's cast the film with. But I say this as well: to know Lubitsch is to love him. (Sometimes). But if you don?t look out, and you?re not careful, and you?re not listening carefully...you might learn something while you?re laughing.

 

Each character-type is cast and played perfectly.

 

Margaret Bannerman as Lady Alice Carmel - She does take matters in hand when Bellinsky is found coming out of Betty?s room. She might be the gentle mistress of the house, but I feel she runs it with a velvet fist.

 

Sara Allgood as Mrs. Maile / Ernest Cossart as Syrette - There is comfort for them in everything in its place and a place for everything...and everyONE. When Mrs. Maile waxes on about playing with dolls as a child...and she?s a servant even then, well... And this maid and butler seem to have a kind of courtship going on that?s kind of cute. It was amusing when the butler speaks about being spoken to < gulp > as an equal. (Horrors!) Subtle Lubitsch commentary.

 

Peter Lawford as Andrew Carmel - I really enjoyed him in this movie when I?ve always thought he was just okay in everything I?ve ever seen him in, Brat Pack or not. He?s the callow youth, finally spurred on to make claim on Betty Cream. He?s eager, and hero- worshipping. I thought he played Lubitsch?s comedy nicely. By jove he got it!!

 

Una O?Connor as Mrs. Wilson - Her entire performance consisted of clearing her throat. And she said a ?mouthful? with that. When she blew out the candles of her cake by clearing her throat, I found that funny and gagged slightly.

 

Helen Walker as Betty Cream - What a silly name, improbable name: Betty Cream. Peaches 'n cream complexion...cream of the crop??? Walker acquitted herself quite nicely in the world of Lubitsch. (She so reminded me of today?s Reese Witherspoon). I think it?s all about having a grasp on the comedy; and for me...that means NOT playing it like it IS a comedy. I loved Helen Walker in this movie. She?s so willfully self-centered and everyone buzzes around her. She?s to the manor born; she just expects to be the center of attention. (I know I shall find Moira?s essay on Helen Walker a delicious read and can't wait to devour and savor it).

 

She's so blissfully unaware of anyone or anything else around her. She's not willful with it. She's just Betty Cream.

 

"You have the most charming way of tossing bouquets. Just as if they were bricks!" says Bellinski to Betty.

 

I loved her scenes: * discovering Bellinski sleeping in bed, * granting Bellinski Cluny?s day off and * screaming during Bellinski?s visit to her bedroom. When Bellinski goes to the door and then makes a step back to Betty, Lubitsch cuts to Betty who doesn't even look up from her book, when she screams again. Funny. Walker was wonderful. I don't think of her when I think comedy. She knew Bellinski was making a pass in his own roundabout way; it's so easy, Walker looked lovely and soft (not hard and cold). But she sets Bellinski back on course without batting an eye. Helen Walker toned down and dialed down her strength in this movie... (see there?s that Acting Thing again). She allows Lady Carmel to take over. When Walker played Lilith in ?Nightmare Alley? she plays the part so superiorly imperious. This queen bee is soft here, but again...in full control. I like that in my femme fatales. I'd have loved to see her stand toe-to-toe with Phyllis Dietrichson, Kathie Moffett, Catherine Tremaine, or Mattie Walker. Walker was chilling and her life took such a sad sad turn. But in "Cluny Brown"...she was delightful.

 

CHARLES BOYER as Mr. Bellinski -

 

For me, the big surprise is Continental Charles Boyer. Who knew this heavy lidded, thickly accented and dramatic persona would be so light and airy in ?CLUNY BROWN.? He has a fantastic light touch. (This is the same man who was ?gaslighting? Ingrid Bergman in ze casbah???? ?Impossible!!? said the Maven, Frenchly).

 

Bellinski can read people right away and put them down without them being aware they?re even being skewered. He tells Mr. Wilson, the chemist who Cluny has her eye on:

 

?You couldn?t have prescribed a better sedative than yourself.?

 

Ouch! To be insulted and not know you?re being insulted is the height of being insulted. Then again, if a tree falls in the forest with no one there to hear it...does it make a sound? (I say yes!) I love how he referred to the Chemist Wilson as a freighter. That says it all. He also understands just what Mr. Wilson feels, when he?s slightly taken aback at the fact that the Guest should know a Chambermaid. And he lets Mr. Wilson know he knows.

 

One scene that just tickled me was when he was talking to the Chemist Wilson about Cluny. As the chemist is a little distance away after their conversation ends, Boyer?s Bellinski calls back Mr. Wilson, who comes scampering over. (He knows his betters, perhaps?)

 

Bellinski: ?You don?t drink, do you??

 

Mr. Wilson: ?No.?

 

Bellinski: ?Good.? And he turns and walks away.

 

The way Boyer turns and walks away cracked me up. I re-played that scene a couple of times. It might not sound amusing here, but you have to see it to know what I mean. You know what I mean? The way he takes off his vest,folds it before getting beaten up by young Adam as he stands watching...and the scene dissolves to the next is amusing to me. I love dissolves in movies. They don't really use them to great comic effect in movies any more.

 

Bellinski...is he an opportunist? Does he play everyone for a fool? Is he even really a writer? Is it a case of mistaken identity (?Soooooo, they call me Concentration Camp Earhardt?? in ?To Be Or Not To Be?). To see him turn up directing the sheep through the street was funny to me.

 

ADAM: "What are you doing here?"

 

BELLINSKI: "Waiting for you."

 

Bellinski doesn't miss a beat or an opportunity, except...

 

 

JENNIFER JONES:

 

She's gone. My God, she is gone. And I feel the loss while looking at this film. I don?t mean to be amazed by the Pretend of Acting. It?s just that I?ve seen the beautiful Jennifer Jones in so many different incarnations, it's sometimes a speed bump to realize this is the same person. Look at her in "Love Letters" as the earnest and sincere Singleton, or as the unhappily married indiscreet American housewife, or happily married housewife with a gray flanneled husband, or the faithful and unflappable Bernadette, or as backwoods / wrong-side of the tracks / lusty Ruby Gentry, or as a Eurasian doctor...and then play the materialistic and unsatisfied as Emma. One time she is just the plain old American daughter in war-time "Since You Went Away." And who can forget Pearl...sexy, fiery, masochistic Pearl Chavez. ("LUTE???!!!!") But here...in ?Cluny Brown? Jennifer Jones is different yet again; a little ditzy, mostly misunderstood. She?s so unaware of her power that she almost loses her power. And her ?Persian cat feeling? is very, very...well, MEOW!

 

Cluny has such WONDERMENT in the way she sees the world (which complements Bellinski?s joie de vivre...or is that opportunism? I'm still working through that). Every time Society attempts to clamp down on her enthusiasm and spirit it hurt me to feel that. How she?s viewed in the tea & crumpets scene when her real identity is discovered...and worse still, being judged by the Chemist when she broke out into plumbing at his mother?s birthday party...OMG, it just really broke me down. Poor little waif, it hurt to see her shamed like that. (But what she saw in that stuffed-shirt of a chemist, I?m sure I?ll never know. As Dix would have said: Aww honey, you shouldn?t have...?) I found Jennifer Jones very good in this.

 

I love the dialogue, the use of metaphors and misunderstandings:

* ?You?re the most selfish man I?ve ever seen. You don?t even know me and already you?re not interested in me.?

 

* ?You see, she?s not dressed for plumbing. But what woman is.?

 

* ?So many foreigners do have foreign names.?

 

* ?Have you heard of the Nazis?? ?Oh yes. German chaps. Always wanted to see one.?

 

* ?Oh darling trust me, please trust me.? ?Darling if I trust you now I?ll always have to trust you and I won?t.? She sounds literally like Bette Davis as she adds: ?Now what have you got behind your back??

 

And my very favorite:

 

* ?Sometimes an omission is an admission.? I think I'm going to use that this Friday nite.

 

No one says what they mean in ?Cluny Brown.? It?s the most NOT on-the-nose dialogue I think I might have heard.

 

It?s obvious that Bellinski (Boyer) and Cluny Brown (Jennifer) like each other. When she talks a little out of context, Bellinski jumps right in there and joins her illogical Logic. He?s not afraid...he?s with her all the way. In fact, he might be a little blooeey himself:

 

?Nobody can tell you where your place is...where ever you?re happy, that?s your place. And happiness is a matter of purely personal adjustment to your environment...in Hyde Park for instance, some people like to feed nuts to the squirrels. But if it makes you feel happy to feed squirrels to the nuts, who am I to say nuts to the squirrels??

 

But he is interested in her:

 

?We must go on being friends. And since we?re not our types, that should be easy; today, we?re not our types. Tomorrow, we might not look so bad to each other.?

 

We are made privy to a private moment of Bellinski?s when he rehearses what he would say to Cluny:

 

?Pacts are made for two reasons. One to be kept, the other...to be broken.?

 

He?s about to invite her out. But gosh darn it, she already has a date with the Chemist Wilson. What the-- Watch poor Bellinski as he fiddles with his tie:

 

?The glass of beer I was going to offer seems so flat after all those bottles and vials filled with magic.?

 

And with that baritoned sexy French accent and coal-black eyes....Cluny, is ya k-krazy?!!! I can smell the Seine coming through his pores.

 

Lubitsch lets us see that Cluny subconsciously thinks about Bellinski b?cuz she references him when she hopes Mr. Wilson notices her hat and how she hoped he would think it was a ?garden on her head.?

 

Characters don?t say what they mean...(The Maid and Butler say what they mean, if I remember correctly). Lubitsch also uses the ploy of having Bellinski and Cluny Brown say things that the viewing audience understands, but the characters within the film do NOT understand. Wasn't there a scene with Reginald Gardiner (who was wonderful too) where Bellinski is explaining something to him that the audience already knows. It makes perfect sense to us...but then Gardiner (as Mr. Carmel) says: "That's much too deep for me, Bellinski." Again, I busted out laughing.

 

I like that Lubitsch layers his jokes. (You know what British tv show did that extremely well to hilarious effects: ?FAWLTY TOWERS.? By the end of the show, a joke that was set up in the beginning of the half-hour is unleashed for its payoff). See, we the audience, know more than the characters in the film. Now that Cluny Brown is a maid, she?s serving the Carmels dinner. When she unexpectedly sees Mr. Bellinski at the dinner table she says: ?NUTS TO THE SQUIRRELS? and drops the entire tray of food. OMG, I didn?t expect that and I just busted out laughing. And then Lubitsch adds one more layer on top of that by having Bellinski talk about how she should have said ?SQUIRRELS TO THE NUTS.?

 

Lubitsch?s commentary on politics or social mores:

 

* The rich can afford to travel. But they?re very closed and xenophobic. They let nothing and NO ONE in.

 

* Servants knowing their place and servants knowing other people?s place. They seem to be the most rigid in holding that position.

 

* Bellinski tells Mr. Carmel to stay angry and he will get through what will come.

 

< SPOILER ALERT >

 

I thought the film ended abruptly. Bellinski's leaving for England (then America). Just up and leaving. Did I miss something. Cluny running after him. One last time Bellinski opens the Chemist's shop door ( <tinkle tinkle > ), Cluny on the handlebars of a bike. Then finding Bellinski at the train station. When she tells her sad tale of woe and Bellinski said seriously: "Get in," I melted. He makes her cast off all the accoutrements of what would keep her in her "place" and they have a life together. I got the old Jennifer Jones back when I saw her so very stylishly dressed as they window-shopped in front of the book store.

 

...And without hearing their dialogue we know what is happening and that a baby is on the way.

 

I've heard of "Cluny Brown" for years. Years. I thought it was some kind of costume drama. (Bleh!!) Never even ventured to see it. Absolutely no interest. Then I get the DVD of this movie. (Thank you out there!!!!) I skim over what some of you posted below, which whets my appetite. Then I watch it. All of it. The music in the opening credits herald this to be the world of the Absurd. And I really enjoyed it.

 

And I'm now here to say I love "Cluny Brown.? The dialogue, the acting...the message.

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