Ep. 33: Author Gwenda Young on Forgotten Master Clarence Brown

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Ep. 33: Author Gwenda Young on Forgotten Master Clarence Brown

Unread post by Mike Gebert » Fri Dec 07, 2018 9:24 am



NitrateVille Radio Episode 33: Author Gwenda Young on Forgotten Master Clarence Brown

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We romanticize the visionary who battles the front office—and loses in the end. The director who turns out quality product within the studio system and makes the best of the opportunities presented him? Not so much. Clarence Brown is remembered for being good at making female stars (Garbo, Crawford, etc.) as a house director for nearly 30 years at MGM, but Dr. Gwenda Young, who teaches film studies at University College Cork in Ireland, makes the case for him as an artist when he could be, in her new biography Clarence Brown: Hollywood's Forgotten Master, from University of Kentucky Press. She even convinces me to give Of Human Hearts another chance! (77:02)

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Dr. Gwenda Young with Kevin Brownlow and Carl Davis at a screening of the restored The Goose Woman in 2017.

(1:51) Apprenticeship under Maurice Tourneur
(14:50) Early days as a director
(26:43) Brown at MGM
(34:50) Garbo talks: working in sound
(50:06) A few duds
(56:05) Revival in the 1940s

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The trailers excerpted in the podcast:
Conquest
Sadie McKee
Idiot's Delight
National Velvet
Anna Karenina
The Human Comedy
Intruder in the Dust


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Re: Ep. 33: Author Gwenda Young on Forgotten Master Clarence Brown

Unread post by boblipton » Fri Dec 07, 2018 11:03 am

Another fine interview and interesting discussion. Between her accent and speed of speech, Dr. Young in conversation shows a lot of infectious enthusiasm — by this stage in a project, I would be in a leave-me-alone mood!

Given his wide range of subjects, I hadn’t noticed Brown’s penchant for small towns and simple people. Now that it’s been pointed out, it makes me think of Henry King, another workhouse studio director, who, I think, is best at small-town people.

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Re: Ep. 33: Author Gwenda Young on Forgotten Master Clarence Brown

Unread post by s.w.a.c. » Thu Dec 13, 2018 2:47 pm

Listened to the interview today, great episode on a director whose work I've enjoyed without knowing much about the man himself, apart from the usual chatter about how he was "a man of contradictions". I'd be keen to check out the book to see what Dr. Young has to say about some of the productions that weren't mentioned, like The Rains Came or Wife Vs. Secretary.

It also made me want to run out and find a HD copy of The Yearling, but of course such a thing doesn't seem to exist. I've never seen the film in its entirety, just in bits and pieces on TCM, but I keep holding out hope I'll be able to see a version that does its Technicolor production justice, either on disc or in a theatre. Well, one can dream.

Letty Lynton, on the other hand, I've given up on for the time being, at least until the play that was the foundation of the plagarism lawsuit goes public domain in 2025.
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Re: Ep. 33: Author Gwenda Young on Forgotten Master Clarence Brown

Unread post by Hamilton's Grandson » Thu Dec 13, 2018 6:17 pm

Great interview.

Always wondered if he felt bad years later about the 4 people that drowned in the river during the filming on location of The Trail of 98? With the many films that he directed, i believe he was quoted as saying that this was his hardest film to direct that he was ever involved with. Will check out his later works as I have not seen many of them.

Great director who lived a very long life.
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Re: Ep. 33: Author Gwenda Young on Forgotten Master Clarence Brown

Unread post by maliejandra » Thu Jan 10, 2019 7:43 am

I just got around to listening to this one. I would love to read the book! The price seems a bit steep for me right now, especially since I have so many I haven't read, including a few new ones. I feel like a kindred spirit with Young who also loves Joan Crawford, especially these early films where she is so beautiful and her chemistry with Gable is undeniable. The discussion of the duds made me laugh, especially when you agreed They Met in Bombay was such a bad film, because it is one I particularly liked. Gable could pretty much do anything and I would be riveted. (Which is strange because on face value he is not particularly attractive; he just had "it" in spades.) Interesting that Brown didn't like Franchot Tone or Norma Shearer. I'd like to read more to find out why.

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Re: Ep. 33: Author Gwenda Young on Forgotten Master Clarence Brown

Unread post by jink » Thu Jan 10, 2019 10:33 am

thank you for the kind comments. I hope you get a chance to read the book and, in a shameless plug that I hope you'll forgive, I might mention the fact that right now it's on sale at -40% discount direct from UP of Kentucky (http://kentuckypress.com/live/title_det ... DdzkM_7SgS) ! thank you for taking the time to listen to the podcast and to Mike at Nitrateville for giving me the opportunity! best wishes, Gwenda Young

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Re: Ep. 33: Author Gwenda Young on Forgotten Master Clarence Brown

Unread post by maliejandra » Fri Jan 11, 2019 12:04 pm

I'm trying to add it to my cart but the website doesn't seem to be working. I even tried to create an account but it won't let me. :(

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Re: Ep. 33: Author Gwenda Young on Forgotten Master Clarence Brown

Unread post by jink » Fri Jan 11, 2019 1:59 pm

oh, I am sorry about that. I will contact the publisher and see what's going on! thanks for your interest. GY

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Re: Ep. 33: Author Gwenda Young on Forgotten Master Clarence Brown

Unread post by rudyfan » Fri Jan 11, 2019 3:17 pm

maliejandra wrote:
Thu Jan 10, 2019 7:43 am
The discussion of the duds made me laugh, especially when you agreed They Met in Bombay was such a bad film, because it is one I particularly liked. Gable could pretty much do anything and I would be riveted. (Which is strange because on face value he is not particularly attractive; he just had "it" in spades.) Interesting that Brown didn't like Franchot Tone or Norma Shearer. I'd like to read more to find out why.
This book is on the top of my pile to be read. I am so far behind in reading!

Like you, I am also rather fond of the incredibly silly They Met in Bombay. It's a dog, but, it's fun.

Great interview! I have been enjoying them a great deal!
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Re: Ep. 33: Author Gwenda Young on Forgotten Master Clarence Brown

Unread post by jink » Mon Jan 14, 2019 11:36 am

maliejandra wrote:
Fri Jan 11, 2019 12:04 pm
I'm trying to add it to my cart but the website doesn't seem to be working. I even tried to create an account but it won't let me. :(

hi there, Just checked with the Publisher-- their supplier is having some technical glitches! They've shut down ordering for a few days to rectify it but it should be operational soon, hopefully by the end of the week.. thanks for your interest. best wishes, GY

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Re: Ep. 33: Author Gwenda Young on Forgotten Master Clarence Brown

Unread post by maliejandra » Mon Jan 14, 2019 2:19 pm

The site is up and working and I ordered my copy today!

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Re: Ep. 33: Author Gwenda Young on Forgotten Master Clarence Brown

Unread post by jink » Mon Jan 14, 2019 5:31 pm

maliejandra wrote:
Mon Jan 14, 2019 2:19 pm
The site is up and working and I ordered my copy today!
great. Hope you like it! :)

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