Director Clarence Brown worked with some of the greatest screen legends of classic Hollywood, including the likes of Clark Gable, Joan Crawford, Mickey Rooney, Spencer Tracy, and more. He was Greta Garbo’s favorite director and was well-known for putting his stars at ease in order to elicit strong performances. Dubbed “the star-maker,” Brown had the distinction of guiding Elizabeth Taylor through some of her earliest performances and also discovering child star Claude Jarman, Jr.
Brown directed over 50 films during his career, including Anna Karenina (1935), National Velvet (1944), and Intruder in the Dust (1949), with plots that showcased glamour, Americana, and family. While stars enjoyed working with him, his directorial peers also admired him.
Gwenda Young’s Clarence Brown: Hollywood’s Forgotten Master pays tribute to Brown’s achievements as the first full-length account of his personal and professional life. Young details Brown’s early years as an aviator and engineer, leaving his car dealership to follow a dream of making movies. Brown would go on to also be celebrated for his unique use of lighting and composition.
Young’s work gives much-deserved credit to Brown and is sure to be enjoyed by fans and scholars of classic film.
Clarence Brown: Hollywood’s Forgotten Master is available for purchase via the University Press of Kentucky.
I read Claude Jarman, Jr.’s memoir last year (year before?) and came away with a very favorable impression of Clarence Brown. I’d like to know more about him!