1946 | 100 mins | Classified PG
Directed by Ernst Lubitsch.
With Jennifer Jones, Charles Boyer, Peter Lawford and Helen Walker.
Lubitsch’s last completed film is one of his most polished, daring and satisfying comedies about “women of emotion, intelligence and potential” who challenge social expectations, as film critic Molly Haskell describes them. The film is set in England in 1939, and Lubitsch delights in satirising the complacency of the aristocracy to the impending war. Cluny Brown is an orphan, raised to young adulthood by a protective uncle who is a plumber. Though naïve about life and love, she is totally confident in the plumbing skills she has acquired. Posted as a maid to a country house, she meets an outspoken Czech academic and refugee. Cluny’s lack of conventional social decorum and her enthusiasm for plumbing disrupt her engagement to a local shopkeeper, and she bonds instead with the European émigré. Laced with sexual innuendo, perfectly timed visual comedy and a wealth of eccentric characters (especially Una O’Connor expressing a vast range of meanings in her perpetual throat-clearing), the film is a mischievous, irreverent delight.
Introduced by CIFF Special Guest – Dr Christine Wallace, political journalist, historian and film enthusiast.