As far as the Golden-Age of Hollywood is concerned, Claudia, for me, is the best that Tinseltown has to offer, with regards to the relationship of marriage. Few films so brilliantly weave the marriage of the drama and comedy of life together any better than Claudia. My wife and I view this little masterpiece one or two times a year, and in each viewing is found a delicate dainty to savor, pleasing to the palette, offering new layers of experience with each and every offering.
Behind the scenes:
Edmund Goulding (Dark Victory, 1939, The Constant Nymph, 1943, Of Human Bondage, and The Razor’s Edge, 1946) took the director’s chair, Alfred Newman (with over five-hundred musical credits in film making: The Song of Bernadette, 1943, Call Northside 777, 1948, Anastasia, 1956 ) wrote the score. Morrie Ryskind (worked on four Marx Brother’s projects, had only twenty credits) adapted the play by Rose Franken, for the screen.
Leon Shamroy who seemed to work very well (Made for Each Other, and The Adventures of Sherlock Holmes, 1939, Down Argentine Way, 1940, Moon over Miami, 1941) within the confines of a sound-stage, photographed the film; Claudia, needing little exterior footage and since the project did not utilize tracking shots, continuous scenes, or innovative camera work, Shamroy provided what cinematographic expertise was required. Whit his cinematography in, Leave Her to Heaven (Gene Tierney and Cornel Wilde at their best), Shamroy began a new portion of his photographic career, with longer, emotional establishing shots, which became very nice touches for such films as Twelve O’Clock High, 1949, The Snows of Kilimanjaro, 1952, The Robe, 1953 and Love Is a Many-Splendored Thing, 1955. Mr. Shamroy used his sound-stage knowledge and his ability to film intimacy from a distance in, There’s No Business Like Show Business, The King and I, 1956, and South Pacific in 1958.
Robert L. Simpson, editor supreme, applied the razor-blade for Claudia, snipping here and there, keeping this filming of the stage-play, a nice tight package. Simpson, cut for director John Ford on, Drums Along the Mohawk, 1939, The Grapes of Wrath, 1940, he also polished up Miracle on 34th Street, 1947, A Man Called Peter, 1955. Often, cinematographer Leon Shamroy and Simpson worked on the same productions.
Of course in a piece like Claudia, the art, settings and costumes are all important, all becoming characters in the movie. Such was the task assigned to art directors James Basevi and Albert Hogsett; Basevi worked in the film-industry for thirty years, Wuthering Heights, 1939, The Long Voyage Home, 1940, The Lodger, 1944. While Hogsett handled those duties in some of the Charlie Chan and Mr. Moto series-films, and such projects as, Western Union, 1941, The Enemy Below, 1957.
Paul S. Fox and Thomas Little decorated the sets for Claudia; this was just Fox’s second movie, he added such classics as Gentleman’s Agreement, 1947, David and Bathsheba, 1951, Bus Stop, 1956, to his profile. Little, had his hand in almost five-hundred films in just over twenty years, including, King Kong [uncredited], 1933, Kidnapped, 1938, Boomerang!, 1947 and Don’t Bother to Knock, 1952. The costumes were by Bonnie Cashin and René Hubert; this was Cashin’s first work in Hollywood, later providing costumes for, Laura, 1944, Anna and the King of Siam, 1946, The Snake Pit, in 1948. Hubert designed for over one-hundred productions, a couple of standouts were: Heaven Can Wait, 1943 and My Darling Clementine, 1946.
Claudia is available on DVD, by M. O. D. (manufactured on demand) from, Fox Connect.
In front of the camera:
Dorothy McGuire (Claudia Naughton; reprising her Broadway role, film debut)
Robert Young (David Naughton; he and McGuire would star in The Enchanted Cottage, 1945)
Ina Claire (Mrs. Brown; her next to last film, she made just twelve)
Reginald Gardiner (Jerry Seymour; he appeared in twenty-three movies in the 1940’s)
Olga Baclanova (Madame Daruschka; she and McGuire were the only Claudia on Broadway holdovers)
Jean Howard (Julia; she made just one more movie after Claudia)
Frank Tweddell (Fritz; just eight films to his credit, two being Claudia and the sequel: Claudia and David)
Elsa Janssen (Bertha; a lot of maids and mommas roles, in her twenty-five flicks)
By C. S. Williams