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Bang, bang, bang!
on 24 October 2008
A beguiling comedy, the last completed by Ernst Lubitsch as director, Cluny Brown is set in a never-never land England in 1938. Jennifer Jones plays the niece of a plumber, unsure of her place in the world, who takes a job as a maid at a country house, where she re-encounters intellectual Czech refuge and freeloader/free spirit Charles Boyer. This being a romantic comedy, the ending is not hard to guess; however, along the way there are a lot of good jokes, some startling double entendres, and some deft comic acting (Peter Lawford aside, who is a very dull stick).
Jennifer Jones has a deep note to her voice which has reminded me in previous films of Marilyn Monroe; here, she is very Monroe-ish, and her character is quite similar to Marilyn's in The Seven Year Itch - though perhaps not so daffy, or overtly sexy. There is a scene in which she and Boyer are reminiscing about their first meeting, where she turned up in lieu of her uncle to mend a sink - the other servants are eavesdropping and plainly think the two of them are talking about sex. `I rolled up me sleeves,' says Jones, `and rolled down me stockings - and bang, bang! bang!' The way she says it is hilariously suggestive - how they got it past the censors beats me.
Anyway, a charming film - not very well known, I think - and definitely to be recommended.