Janie (1944)

Genres - Comedy, Romance  |   Sub-Genres - Romantic Comedy, Teen Movie  |   Release Date - Sep 2, 1944 (USA - Unknown)  |   Run Time - 106 min.  |   Countries - USA  |  
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It's a bit surprising to see Michael Curtiz listed as the director of Janie. While Curtiz was certainly a versatile director who helmed films in many different genres, he's just not the name that pops into the mind when discussing a slight, if charming, family comedy with an innocent adolescent lead. Curtiz' work is actually quite good on this frothy little piece of nonsense, which is built around the kind of situations one has seen countless times on television sitcoms, from their inception to the present day. Fortunately, the writers have provided a decent amount of workable dialogue, some nifty slang that will amuse modern audiences, and a few quips that solidly hit the mark. Curtiz is working in fast-paced mode, keeping the picture zipping along at such a good clip that most viewers won't mind that there's no real substance here. In the title role, Joyce Reynolds is pleasant and appealing; she's not a great talent, but she has energy and affability and knows how to use these qualities to carry the picture. Her supporting cast is an embarrassment of riches, including wonderful Ann Harding, Edward Arnold and Robert Benchley. None of them have very much to do other than react with bemusement, anger or frustration to Reynolds' latest scheme -- but they do it oh so well. If you're in the mood for a silly but agreeable trifle, Janie should be up your alley.