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Cluny Brown

(1946 b 100')

En: 6 Ed: 5

A Czech writer finds refuge in English society and falls in love with a house maid who is equally oblivious to social classes.

In June 1938 Hilary Ames (Reginald Gardiner) needs a plumber for his sink. Writer Adam Belinski (Charles Boyer) arrives, followed by Cluny Brown (Jennifer Jones), who fixes it and gets tipsy on wine before her uncle comes to retrieve her. During Ames' cocktail party John tells Andrew Carmel (Peter Lawford) that Betty Cream (Helen Walker) refused to marry him. They find Belinski asleep and, wanting to help the great Czech writer, they give him twenty pounds.

Cluny packs and has to leave her uncle. At the train station Col. Graham (C. Aubrey Smith) gives her a ride. Henry Carmel (Reginald Owen) and Alice Carmel (Margaret Bannerman) invite her to tea before discovering she is the new maid. Then Syrette (Ernest Cossart) takes her to Mrs. Maile (Sara Allgood), who instructs her to obey. Belinski comes to visit Henry and Alice. At dinner he quotes Shakespeare. Cluny serves meat, sees Belinski, and drops the tray; but he persuades them not to dismiss her. He comes in a window to talk with Cluny, and they agree not to be romantic. Maile and Syrette overhear them and lament the impropriety.

Belinski sees Cluny on her day off, but she goes to see the chemist Wilson (Richard Haydn) and has tea with his mother (Una O'Connor). Wilson plays the harmonium. Outside Cluny and Wilson meet Belinski, and Cluny runs off. Belinski says that Wilson is a sedative for her. She tells Belinski that she likes the stability of Wilson. Belinski gets a ride with Andrew and assures him he is safe from Nazis in England. Andrew sees Betty on a horse and asks about their row. Belinski asks Betty if Cluny can have the night off. Cluny tells Belinski that she dreamed about him. She attends a birthday party for Wilson's mother. Wilson's announcement is interrupted by a plumbing problem, and Cluny fixes it. Wilson's mother goes upstairs, and the guests leave. Belinski goes into Betty's bedroom at night and asks why she is mean to Andrew. She tells him to get out and screams. Everyone is aroused, but she says she thought it was a burglar. Alice asks Betty if she is going to marry Andrew, and she says yes.

At breakfast Henry tells Belinski that Andrew is joining the RAF. Belinski learns of the wedding and says he is leaving. Andrew wants to fight Belinski for being in Betty's room; but Belinski talks his way out of it, and Andrew lends him fifty pounds. Belinski leaves a gift for Cluny and says goodbye to everyone else. Cluny chases after him, and he tells her to get on the train with him. He throws away her cap and apron, and they plan to be together.

This subtle comedy satirizes English social distinctions by showing two free spirits from different classes drawn to each other.

Copyright © 2006 by Sanderson Beck

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