Paul Brogan | Portsmouth, NH United States | 02/27/2005
(4 out of 5 stars)
"Columbia's spring, 1959 release, "It Happened to Jane" should have been a box-office smash. It certainly had all the makings of a hit.
Starring Doris Day and Jack Lemmon, two of the screen's most gifted comic performers, featuring a great supporting cast and set amidst some of the most beautiful scenery seen up to that date in wide-screen, it nevertheless opened and closed rather quickly.
Perhaps it was the title or the general lack of enthusiasm the studio seemed to have for the film, but it nevertheless provided more than ample entertainment for audiences who did venture into the theatres where it played and now, beautifully presented on DVD (It was never, oddly enough, given a release on video), it should more than provide ample pleasures for those who purchase or rent this delightful romp.
In short it is the story of a widow, with two children, who raises lobsters in a small Maine town who takes on a mighty railroad whose indifference had caused her to lose a shipment. She is assisted in her battle by smalltown lawyer/boyfriend, Jack Lemmon. This being Hollywood, the outcome may seem rather predictable but getting there is such fun that you can't help but smile throughout and from time to time let out a major guffaw.
The film was released about 6 months before Doris Day began her many year reign as the top box-office star in the world. The film that made that possible was "Pillow Talk". She was Oscar-nominated for her turn in that film but she is equally as good as Janie Osgood in this picture.
She beautifully epitomizes the strong willed, determined New England stock she plays and the audience is rooting for her from the first frame. It is a very skilled performance utilizing the natural empathy audiences feel for her and allowing her to display her one of a kind comic timing coupled with the "heart" comedy that she does better than anyone else. Miss Day and Lemmon are great together and one can only wish they'd had another chance to work together since they are naturals.
Lemmon does the sometimes neurotic, high-strung portrayal that he did skillfully for decades but it has rarely been funnier and more apt.
Ernie Kovacs has the role of his lifetime as railroad mogul, Harry Foster Malone. He chews the scenery with such skill and his scenes with Day and Lemmon are memorable. You dislike his character but also enjoy the relish with which the actor plays it.
Great supporting performances are contributed by Steve Forrest, Parker Fennelly, who briefly tried to fill Percy Kilbride's shoes in a "Kettle" comedy at Universal, and Mary Wickes, making her fourth big screen appearance opposite Miss Day. (She would appear opposite her one more time, ten years later when she guest-starred on Miss Day's hit CBS television series).
Richard Quine, who never achieved major success as a director despite a handful of good films and would forever be known as the man who accidentally shot and paralyzed his one time actress-wife Susan Peters, directs with confidence and capability. As noted by many, there is a Frank Capra-esque quality about the proceedings.
Miss Day sings the title tune and another song during the film in her customary way (i.e. one of the screen's best female singers), and there are surprise appearances by several game show performers of the time.
"It Happened to Jane" may finally gain the reputation it deserves as one of 1959's happiest surprises."
Cute Doris Day caper
Byron Kolln | the corner where Broadway meets Hollywood | 03/22/2005
(4 out of 5 stars)
"IT HAPPENED TO JANE was up until this DVD release something of a `lost classic', having never been released on video and appearing only rarely on TV and cable. Doris Day stars in another domestic comedy which suits her wholesome girl-next-door persona to a tee.
She plays Jane Osgood, a young widow in Cape Anne, Maine, who runs a lobster farming business. When one of her shipments returns with the lobsters dead inside, Jane discovers that it was the fault of the railroad company. She turns to her old friend George Denham (Jack Lemmon) a young lawyer, and together they take on the tyrannical head of the railways Harry Foster Malone (Ernie Kovacs). It's a cute, often very funny comedy. Doris Day and Jack Lemmon are fresh and appealing in the lead roles, and Day gets 2 numbers ("Be Prepared" and the Title Song). The movie also features Mary Wickes, Steve Forrest and Jayne Meadows. Based on a story by Max Wilk and Norman Katkov.
The DVD picture looks great, in a colourful anamorphic print. Extras consist of trailers for other Columbia classic movie titles."
A real pleasure
Louis E. Bridges | Atlanta, GA United States | 10/27/2005
(5 out of 5 stars)
"How nice to sit down with your family and watch a well shot, well acted film with, dare I say it, a straight-forward unapologetically wholesome narrative tale extolling various virtues in its characters. The New England scenary is stunning, Jack Lemmon is great and Doris Day is at her best in a role well suited for her talents. Ernie Kovacs is wonderful as the cigar chewing railroad tycoon. The greatest compliment I can pay this film is to paraphrase a line from the movie "It must have been great to grow up here"."
Watch this great film tonight, and see what happened to jane
Chris | Leeds, Utah United States | 12/16/2004
(5 out of 5 stars)
"I almost fell of my chair when I saw this.
I have a VHS of this rare movie in my DOris Day Collection since I own all 39/39 of her films. And this is one of my all time favorites. Doris Day plays Jane Osgood, a young widow with 2 young children, and she owns a lobster business. Well her lobsters come back dead in the train and she finds out that they wern't taken to there destination soon enough. Because of the new President of the Railroad Company Harry Foster Malone (Ernie Kovacs). So she and her lawyer/boyfriend/lifetime friend Jack Lemmon. GO to fight against him and at the end she wins, and Harry Foster Malone becomes a new nicer man then he was before. This movie also features a few great Doris Day songs including It Happened To Jane, and Be Prepared. This is a great movie that I highly suggest you buying. I will be buying this dvd the day it comes out."
Doris Day at her best
Torsten Behm | Hamburg Germany | 02/23/2005
(5 out of 5 stars)
"I can only confirm the above rave reviews for this movies - it's my favorite Doris Day-movie and I already wrote to Columbia 2 years ago, that they should release it on DVD, since it was not even released on Laserdisc. I read in one of the above reviews that the movie should be titled "Plain Jane" - in the 3rd Bear Family-Records-CD-Box ("Que sera" - recommended as well!) one can read that actually the movie was intended to be titled after the novel it is based upon - "That Jane from Maine". That CD-Box also includes 2 versions of the never-before-released recording of the song "That Jane from Main", Doris recorded for this movie (in the meantime also available on a Sony-Comilation). It`s the same melody as "It happened to Jane" (which had to be recorded after the movie had been re-titeled), but a completely different arrangement, faster, with the drummer imitating a steam engine as intro - the lyrics are totally different as well. It`s a pity - since DVD and soundtrack-recording belong to Sony (Columbia)- that this different song -and perhaps the original soundtrack- was not put onto the DVD as an extra. If they could not find bonus film material that's one thing, the songs would have been possible. But that of course would have required creative energy... Enjoy the movie :-)"