Lubitsch’s last completed film, and an absolute masterpiece, in which Charles Boyer gives a delectable and brilliant performance, as does Jennifer Jones as the object of his affections. That Lubitsch died within a year after this final work is palpably tragic as you can see how young and energetic and how on-the-mark he remained to the end. An unalloyed pleasure is Cluny Brown, among his least-known pictures, it is also among his finest.Peter Bogdanovich


Olivia de Havilland and Charles Boyer in Hold Back the Dawn (Dir. Mitchell Leisen, Screenplay. Charles Brackett and Billy Wilder, 1941)

“Charles Brackett and Billy Wilder had Olivia in mind for the pat of Emma, but they knew it would take subterfuge to get her from Jack Warner, who still showed no signs of promoting her career. They also knew he never loaned players unless he needed someone.
The actor Warner wanted at this time was Paramount’s Fred MacMurray, to co-star Errol Flynn in Dive Bomber, but the Paramount executives played it very cool when Warner read the list of his available talent. They made no reaction to the mention of Olivia’s name, but some days later called Warner to say that she would do, since they had to have somebody in order to start production. Thus Warner was tricked into giving them precisely the actress they wanted at no direct cost.”
- Tony Thomas, The Films of Olivia de Havilland