7.7/10
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52 user 17 critic

The Devil and Miss Jones (1941)

Approved | | Comedy, Romance | 11 April 1941 (USA)
A tycoon goes undercover to ferret out agitators at a department store, but gets involved in their lives instead.

Director:

Sam Wood

Writer:

Norman Krasna
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Nominated for 2 Oscars. See more awards »

Photos

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Cast

Cast overview, first billed only:
Jean Arthur ... Mary Jones
Robert Cummings ... Joe O'Brien
Charles Coburn ... John P. Merrick
Edmund Gwenn ... Hooper
Spring Byington ... Elizabeth Ellis
S.Z. Sakall ... George (as S.Z. Sakall)
William Demarest ... First Detective
Walter Kingsford ... Mr. Allison
Montagu Love ... Harrison
Richard Carle ... Oliver
Charles Waldron Charles Waldron ... Needles
Edwin Maxwell ... Withers
Edward McNamara Edward McNamara ... Police Sergeant
Robert Emmett Keane ... Tom Higgins
Florence Bates ... Customer
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Storyline

Department store owner J.P. Merrick finds that several of his employees are unionizing to get more money and better working conditions. In order to find out who the organizers are, he gets a job at the store as a shoe salesman. Not realizing his true identity, he's befriended by Mary Jones and Joe O'Brien, the two ringleaders, and Elizabeth Ellis, a charming older woman with whom he develops a romance. Written by Daniel Bubbeo <dbubbeo@cmp.com>

Plot Summary | Add Synopsis

Genres:

Comedy | Romance

Certificate:

Approved | See all certifications »
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Details

Country:

USA

Language:

English

Release Date:

11 April 1941 (USA) See more »

Also Known As:

Le diable s'en mêle See more »

Company Credits

Show more on IMDbPro »

Technical Specs

Runtime:

Sound Mix:

Mono (RCA Sound System)

Aspect Ratio:

1.37 : 1
See full technical specs »
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Did You Know?

Trivia

George Watts was in studio records/casting call lists as "Watchman," but he was not seen in the movie. Edward Fielding and Frank O'Connor were listed as cast members in news items, but they also were not seen. See more »

Goofs

The photo in the newspaper shows the storefront and you can clearly see, in two places, the name of the store is Neeley's. Minutes later, on Detective Higgins's note from the store's personnel head has the store name as Neely's. See more »

Quotes

First Policeman: When they start recitin' the Constitution, watch out!
See more »

Crazy Credits

Jean Arthur's head is shown wearing a halo with a clouded sky behind her (Heaven-like), she then turns to her right and blows. The scene changes to one of Charles Coburn's head shown with a dark shadow and flames behind him (Hellish), he looks to his left and grimaces. See more »

Connections

Referenced in The Devil in Miss Jones (1973) See more »

Soundtracks

The Blue Danube Waltz, Opus 314
(1867) (uncredited)
Written by Johann Strauss
Played aboard ship at the end and danced by Merrick and the employees.
See more »

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User Reviews

 
Labor Day Sale
5 February 2005 | by jotix100See all my reviews

Norman Krasna, was one of the best screen writers in the movies of the period. Sam Wood shows his ability to direct this excellent cast in one of the most satisfying comedies about the distinctions between the moneyed classes and the working stiffs they employed.

If you haven't seen the film, please stop reading now.

J.P. Merrick, is a millionaire who has investments all over New York. It is to his amazement he sees himself burned in effigy in front of the department store he has forgotten he owns. Merrick, like all people in business don't want to appear to be exploiting the workers, but this is too much! He must put an end to it.

In disguising himself as a salesman, he goes directly where the problem seems to be coming from, the shoe department. There he meets Mary Jones, who immediately feels Tom Higgins, his assumed name, is a man that is going through a rough time in his life. Mary feels pity when she realizes he doesn't know a thing about salesmanship.

In spite of everything going bad for him as a shoe salesman, Tom sticks to his new persona. He only meets kindness from all the people he is trying to fire. Merrick, by the end of the first full day at the store feels the strain of being on his feet all the time; we watch him soaking his feet in hot water, aided by his butler, George. In the process of gaining knowledge about the trouble makers, Merrick becomes human. He gets to realize how wrong he has been about a life he has lived so alienated from.

"The Devil and Miss Jones" is a movie that will delight anyone wishing to have fun. Of course, this is a film that depends totally in the two principals, Jean Arthur, who plays Mary Jones, and Charles Coburn, who as J.P Merrick/Tom Higgins shows why they were about the best actors working in the cinema in the 30s and 40s in Hollywood. Not only did they bring such class to whatever they played, but they are totally convincing. Ms. Arthur was a natural and so was Mr. Coburn.

The rest of the cast is extraordinary. A young Robert Cummings is perfect in his role as the union man. Spring Byinton, an actress that appeared in many films, is a charming Elizabeth, the woman that steals Merrick/Higgins heart. In her first scene with Mr. Coburn, she sits in the park bench to have lunch and he has nothing to eat. She gives him one of her tuna popovers and clarifies for him she paid 12 cents for the can! What times! In minor roles, S. Z. Sakall is George, the loyal butler. Mr. Sakall is a joy to watch, no matter what picture, or what character he is playing. Also, Edmund Gwenn, who probably stayed behind to played Santa Claus for the store, makes an incredible Hooper, the man in charge of the shoe department.

Thanks to Sam Wood's inspired direction this is a film that will not cease to please.


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