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Clarence Brown: Hollywood's Forgotten Master
— —
Gwenda Young Kevin Brownlow
Clarence Brown: Hollywood's Forgotten Master by Gwenda Young at Abbey's Bookshop,

Clarence Brown: Hollywood's Forgotten Master

Gwenda Young Kevin Brownlow


University Press of Kentucky

Film, TV & Radio;
Individual film directors, film-makers;
Cinema industry


448 pages

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Greta Garbo proclaimed him as her favorite director. Actors, actresses, and even child stars were so at ease under his direction that they were able to deliver inspired and powerful performances.

Academy Award-nominated director Clarence Brown (1890-1987) worked with some of Hollywood's greatest stars, such as Clark Gable, Joan Crawford, Mickey Rooney, Katharine Hepburn, and Spencer Tracy. Known as the star maker, he helped guide the acting career of child sensation Elizabeth Taylor (of whom he once said, she has a face that is an act of God ) and discovered Academy-Award-winning child star Claude Jarman Jr. for The Yearling (1946). He directed more than fifty films, including Possessed (1931), Anna Karenina (1935), National Velvet (1944), and Intruder in the Dust (1949), winning his audiences over with glamorous star vehicles, tales of families, communities, and slices of Americana, as well as hard-hitting dramas. Although Brown was admired by peers like Jean Renoir, Frank Capra, and John Ford, his illuminating work and contributions to classic cinema are rarely mentioned in the same breath as those of Hollywood's great directors.

In this first full-length account of the life and career of the pioneering filmmaker, Gwenda Young discusses Brown's background to show how his hardworking parents and resilient grandparents inspired his entrepreneurial spirit. She reveals how the one-time engineer and World War I aviator established a thriving car dealership, the Brown Motor Car Company, in Alabama - only to give it all up to follow his dream of making movies. He would not only become a brilliant director but also a craftsman who was known for his innovative use of lighting and composition.

In a career spanning five decades, Brown was nominated for five Academy Awards and directed ten different actors in Oscar-nominated performances. Despite his achievements and influence, however, Brown has been largely overlooked by film scholars. Clarence Brown: Hollywood's Forgotten Master explores the forces that shaped a complex man - part-dreamer, part-pragmatist - who left an indelible mark on cinema.

By:   Gwenda Young, Kevin Brownlow
Imprint:   University Press of Kentucky
Country of Publication:   United States
Dimensions:   Height: 229mm,  Width: 152mm, 
ISBN:   9780813175959
ISBN 10:   081317595X
Series:   Screen Classics
Pages:   448
Publication Date:   November 2018
Audience:   General/trade ,  ELT Advanced
Format:   Hardback
Publisher's Status:   Active

Gwenda Young is a professor of film history and lecturer in film studies at University College, Cork, Ireland. She is the author of numerous articles about film history, including three articles about Clarence Brown, and co-editor of two books of critical essays. In 2003, along with Kevin Brownlow, she curated a retrospective of Brown's films at the National Film Theatre, London.

Young makes a credible case for Brown's skillful craft and even artistry in the silent era. Youngtells his story well. -- Shepherd Express A well-annotated, comprehensive, academic biography. Highly recommended to anyone interested in the history of early American cinema, star power in early Hollywood, or Clarence Brown. -- Library Journal A sweeping and elegantly written biography. It is as gracefully told, as delicate and memorable, as the best work of its subject. Young's book effortlessly portrays a man who never let the Hollywood system interfere with his filmmaking instincts. -- Wall Street Journal

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