Clarence Brown: Hollywood’s Forgotten Master

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.

About Annette Bochenek

Dr. Annette Bochenek of Chicago, Illinois, is an avid scholar of Hollywood’s Golden Age. She manages the Hometowns to Hollywood blog, in which she writes about her trips exploring the legacies and hometowns of Golden Age stars. Annette also hosts the “Hometowns to Hollywood” film series throughout the Chicago area. She has been featured on Turner Classic Movies and is the president of TCM Backlot’s Chicago chapter. In addition to writing for TCM Backlot, she also writes for Classic Movie Hub, Silent Film Quarterly, Nostalgia Digest, and Chicago Art Deco Society Magazine.
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1 Response to Clarence Brown: Hollywood’s Forgotten Master

  1. 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!

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