It Happened to Jane (1959)

Genres - Comedy  |   Sub-Genres - Farce  |   Release Date - Jul 14, 1959 (USA - Unknown)  |   Run Time - 100 min.  |   Countries - United States   |   MPAA Rating - NR
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Review by Craig Butler

It Happened to Jane is a fairly enjoyable little romantic comedy (with a misleading title, by the way, as Jane is hardly so impassive as to wait and let things happen to her). Jane has a real desire to be a Frank Capra-style comedy, and on the surface it succeeds: it's a "little man (or woman) takes on the system and wins against all odds, aided by the reg'lar folks who take up her cause" story, alright. But Jane lacks the magic that Capra could bring to these tales. He believed in such stories in his gut, and that belief casts a glow over his best films that can't be duplicated. Jane's director, Richard Quine, may very well share that belief, but if he does, he lacks Capra's ability to turn that belief into cinematic magic. His work is perfunctory; it gets the job done, but it doesn't bring anything new or special to the film. Without that, the many flaws in the screenplay become all too apparent. Fortunately, Jane has a lovely cast. Doris Day is in excellent form, spunky and perky and entirely believable as the little woman who refuses to say die. Jack Lemmon is in equally good form as her more cautious counterpart, and the chemistry between the two is excellent. And Ernie Kovacs practically steals the whole show as the cigar-chomping villain of the piece. Throw in dependable Mary Wickes and some cameos from an array of TV names of the period, and the result is a minor but diverting little piece of fluff.