Sunday, 31 August 2008

The Devil and Miss Jones (1941)

With a title like the above, this film might sound like yet another horror flick or even a latter-day soft porn job, but it is actually another comforting golden oldie, albeit not one of the better-known ones -- although it thoroughly deserves to be.

Character actor Charles Coburn who was oscar-nominated for the role plays a curmudgeonly rich guy who takes major offence when the employees of a department he owns (among his lesser holdings) hang him in effigy in social protest.  He decides to go undercover as a hapless slipper salesman to uncover the ringleaders and get them all fired.  Needless to say he is soon very much on the side of the people who befriend him, in particular the lovely comedienne Jean Arthur who feels so sorry for what she believes to be a poor and hard-done-by old geezer, Spring Byington as an older potential romantic interest, and Robert Cummings in a meatier role than his normally lightweight ones as the main agitator.  Only the usually dear old Edmund Gwenn as an uppity too-big-for-his-boots department manager really gets his goat.

This film is something of a cross between the screwball comedies of the 30s in which Arthur excelled and the more socially-conscious movies of the 40s, but it is thoroughly delightful on all counts.  Arthur retired from the movies far too early (her last role was as the mother in "Shane"); she was never a glamourpuss but always the gal you could both believe in and wish to know. 

1 comment:

dbass076 said...

Couldn't agree with you more.I saw it once on AMC before they were largely reduced to  showing "today's" crap and I could kick myself for not taping it then.Easily a "feel good" movie you could watch over and over and over again.Wish I could get my hands on a good copy of it.Charles Coburn is a riot and Jean Arthur is as sweet and sensual as ever...and to me anyway she was ""always a "glamourpuss" :).Of course Robert Cummings was brilliant as usual.He could play any role and I'm of the generation who knew him mostly from "Love That Bob".Great,great,movie!