This article is written with the purpose of denying the traditional approach established by the historiography towards Clarence Brown’s cinema and his image as a filmmaker. This view generally is what describes him as a commercial director who worked inside Hollywood’s studio system and made films for the stars of MGM by assignment. That is, a director without any kind of personal involvement in his films. Actually, it happens just the contrary. Both before and after entering in MGM, in 1926, his production was imbued with a great number of autobiographical features, which gives it a substantial thematic coherence. In fact, a large part of his filmography only can be understood in the light of his Southern origins and his personal life. Moreover, it was indeed in MGM where, since 1935, Brown could carry out a group of works linked to the Americana genre that were completely different, distinctive, and original. Three of them, shot on his own initiative, stand out for their highly autobiographical content: Ah, Wilderness! (1935), Of Human Hearts (1938), and Intruder in the Dust (1949). This research deals with these issues, with a special attention to the three mentioned films.
Clarence Brown, autobiopic, Metro-Goldwyn-Mayer, Americana genre, Ah, Wilderness! (1935), Of Human Hearts (1938), Intruder in the Dust (1949)